Michael Andretti is hoping the green light for his Formula 1 team aspirations will be "a nice Christmas present."
The head of the Andretti Autosport empire and former McLaren F1 driver is trying to convince F1, the FIA and the existing teams to approve an 11th team entry. It would be financed in part by Group 1001—a financial services company that already sponsors Andretti's NTT IndyCar Series team via the Gainbridge brand.
Group 1001 CEO Dan Towriss downplayed rumors that Formula 1 as a block is opposed to Andretti's team debut.
"I think a lot of times, the quotes that get pulled out don't really tell the full story," he told the Indianapolis Star newspaper. "There's a lot of conversations going on and we're not trying to get out in front of anything or use the media as a tool to influence anything. They have an expectation on approach and decorum that people should take in dealing with them and we respect that."
Also involved in Andretti's F1 bid is Guggenheim, owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, which is said to be backing the new Andretti factory and willing to pay the $200 million entry fee for a Formula 1 franchise.
The green light from Formula 1, therefore, may now be looming.
"We're hoping in the next couple weeks," Michael Andretti said. "That would sure be a nice Christmas present."
He also revealed that even after Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz's recent death, the Alpha Tauri team is definitely "not interested" in selling its team entry to Andretti. "But we're working every day," said Andretti, whose father Mario was F1's 1978 world champion. I'm still confident. We're getting close. We haven't gotten the okay yet, but we're getting really close.
"We want to do something that's never been done before. We want to be in all forms of auto racing, from Le Mans to Monaco to the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500."