Mario Andretti blasts Toto Wolff: “I find the criticism very disrespectful”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Motorsport legend Mario Andretti says he finds Toto Wolff’s comments regarding his team’s entry into Formula 1 “disrespectful because we have been active in motorsport much longer than he has”.

When Andretti Global applied to the FIA to enter Formula 1 with their own team, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff immediately commented that a new team has to demonstrate it will add value to the series.

More specifically he wanted Andretti to demonstrate that they can bring in additional revenue to make up for the earnings it will take away from current F1 teams.

Now, 1978 F1 champion and motorsport legend Mario Andretti says he finds these comments disrespectful.

“Toto Wolff has spoken very openly about our credibility,” Andretti told Auto Motor und Sport.

“However, he speaks to me in a different way. I find the criticism very disrespectful because we have been active in motorsport much longer than he has.

“I respect his success so far, but he has no reason to look down on us.”

Andretti then implied that current F1 teams want Andretti Global to pay more than the current $200 million anti-dilution fee, in order for them to accept the new team.

“The FIA is very open to us and we have fulfilled all the requirements. Now we are waiting for them to give us a number, what it costs to pay the teams to let us in.

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“We know it’s in the $200 million range. Now they may want more, but we’re still waiting for feedback. It’s bordering on usury.

“It would be different with Bernie, Liberty gives the teams too much say.”

Ultimately, Andretti demanded more respect from all the stakeholders in Formula 1.

“They always ask how we want to be competitive. I say: let that be our problem! You don’t know our preparations.

“We don’t need to sign any new people at all, we have absolutely experienced people who have the necessary knowledge.

“On the financial side, we have credible partners who are aware of the size of the project. We’ve been planning for a long time with our programme because it’s everything we want.

“We deserve more respect,” he concluded.

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