Andretti’s F1 Entry Gains Momentum with Key Hires from Merc and Red Bull

Andretti's pursuit of a Formula 1 entry is advancing rapidly, revealing that they have successfully recruited staff from leading F1 teams.


By Ben Bush
Updated on March 8, 2024

Andretti F1 Wind Tunnel Testing

Andretti’s quest to join the Formula 1 grid moves at full speed. They are focusing on wind tunnel testing, parts production, and team recruitment. According to their technical director, Nick Chester, they have managed to attract talent from top-tier teams such as Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, and McLaren.

Despite not yet securing an official Formula 1 approval to match that of the governing body, the FIA, the Andretti-Cadillac partnership is proactively preparing to assemble their F1 team, aiming to debut on the grid as soon as 2025.

READ MORE: RB Announces Return of Permane and Other Key Staff for 2024 F1 Season

Significant strides have been made in the project under the guidance of Chester, who previously contributed to Renault and Fernando Alonso‘s championship victories in 2005 and 2006.

Andretti-Cadillac is making headway in their F1 preparations by poaching staff from the four leading F1 teams.

With a satellite base at Silverstone, Andretti-Cadillac has already amassed a 120-person team, including about 50 from their technical partner, General Motors. GM is set to upgrade to a power unit supplier by 2028.

Their senior technical team is already established, with Chester being supported by Jon Tomlinson as head of aerodynamics, a key figure in the Renault/Alonso championship victories, and John McQuilliam as the chief designer, boasting experience with multiple F1 teams including Williams and Manor.

Currently, parts are being produced, and the team is actively engaged in Toyota’s Cologne wind tunnel. Their plan includes testing a full-scale F1 chassis model by mid-2024.

Roll hoop work at GM Charlotte
Roll hoop work at GM Charlotte

Chester expressed his satisfaction with the project’s progress in a discussion with The Athletic. He highlighted the project’s success in attracting staff from the top four teams in the 2023 Constructors’ Championship, including 2023’s dominant team Red Bull, as well as Mercedes, Ferrari, and McLaren.

“It’s a team that wants to do it properly and wants to win,” Chester declared.

“You don’t want to be anywhere that doesn’t have that ethos. As I started talking before I joined, the resource behind it, the effort that was going to go behind it to make it win, just made it very, very attractive.

“I was pleasantly surprised, in a way, how easy it was to draw people to the project. There’s a real draw of a new team, the Andretti name. A blank sheet tends to have a very proactive culture.

“We’ve had people joining from Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren. They all wanted a new challenge. It’s that real potential to shape departments, which is very attractive.”

Before General Motors, the parent company of Cadillac, pledged to become a Formula 1 power unit manufacturer, there were significant doubts, particularly among the existing ten teams, about the depth of GM’s involvement with the Andretti-Cadillac project.

Chester, however, emphasized the critical nature of GM’s role, asserting that the progress made by Andretti-Cadillac would have been considerably less without their support. GM has played an integral part, contributing to both the wind tunnel testing and the manufacturing of parts.

“We wouldn’t have got half of what we’ve got done now without GM’s involvement,” Chester declared.

“It’s not an arrangement where you throw things backwards and forwards, it’s much more like one team. It’s getting really nicely integrated.”

There is a notable opposition from the majority of current F1 teams to the entry of Andretti-Cadillac, primarily due to concerns over potential revenue loss and logistical challenges at certain Formula 1 venues.

Despite this resistance and the absence of explicit support from F1 president Stefano Domenicali, team owner Michael Andretti remains optimistic about their inclusion. He continues to advance their preparations, firmly believing that the American team’s participation will be beneficial for Formula 1.

The sport has witnessed a significant rise in popularity in the United States recently. Notably, 2023 marked the first year that the F1 calendar featured three races in the US, with Las Vegas joining Miami and Austin as venues.

“As Mohammed [Ben Sulayem, FIA president] has said a number of times, the benefits we will bring to the sport and the championship are so obvious,” Andretti insisted.

“I can’t imagine anyone would want to try to stop us, and deprive racing fans of the opportunity to see a genuine American works team going head-to-head with the legendary names currently competing in F1.”

The Formula 1 season is gearing up to recommence, with the Bahrain Grand Prix scheduled for March 2, signaling the start of the 24-race 2024 F1 season.


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About The Author

Chief Editor

Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

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