Both team owners of Mercedes and Aston Martin have been outspoken against Andretti joining the grid as the 11th team, but the driver’s opinions differ. Both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso have come out in support of Andretti.
The FIA approved Andretti’s application so now it is up to the Formula One Management to negotiate the commercial terms of the agreement. This will likely be Andretti’s biggest hurdle.
When asked by the media what his opinion on an 11th team is, Lewis Hamilton was enthusiastic, “I think it’s great.
“I’ve always felt that there weren’t enough cars on the grid. There are definitely people that won’t be happy for me to be supportive of it. But I think it’s great. It’s an opportunity for more jobs. There’s an opportunity for another two seats available for a potential female driver to come through.
“It opens up more possibilities and I think it would be exciting for the race.”
Despite Aston Martin team owner, Lawrence Stroll, stating that Formula 1 doesn’t need Andretti, Alonso believes Andretti has a great racing pedigree and would add plenty to Formula 1.
“A great team – I know Michael [Andretti] and he would be a great name to add to Formula 1,” Alonso told the media.
“But there are other people in charge of these kinds of decisions – the FIA, then FOM, and the teams as well. So for me, I don’t know exactly what to say, whatever will be the final decision is going to be okay.
“I like Michael, I like the organisation but I also understand other things.
“I will support whatever Aston Martin’s position is – I will be okay with anything.”
Despite being enthusiastic about an 11th team, Alonso doesn’t believe it will actually create more competition across the grid.
“In F1, there is not much of a battle between teams. Even if we have 50 on track, we will only fight against one or two drivers because they have more or less the same package as you have.
“There have been some discussions in the past on having three cars per team and things like that, but you never know what is the best solution.
“We have very good people deciding these kinds of things, we trust completely the FIA and FOM so we are in good hands.”