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Andretti Cadillac and Alpine: a marriage born from necessity

Andretti Cadillac and Alpine: a marriage born from necessity

6 January - 14:20 Last update: 19:13


The collaboration between Andretti and Cadillac brings the team's entry to the Formula 1 grid one step closer. In a press release about the announcement, Andretti Cadillac profiled itself as "an all-American team". In practice, this is a little disappointing. In fact, the engines that Andretti wants to race with are French.

This is because General Motors - Cadillac's parent company - has no intention (for now) of building its own F1 engines. Team boss Michael Andretti therefore had to look for a party that could supply the power units, engines that would then be branded as 'Cadillac'. It has since been confirmed to GPblog by General Motors that a deal with Alpine is imminent. There really wasn't much choice either.

Quick to join

Andretti wants to join Formula 1 as soon as possible. The sooner the better, and waiting until 2026 - when the new engine regulations take effect - is not really an option for Andretti. So a power unit is needed. Not just to start the development of an F1 car, but to race it before 2026.

It is no secret that most Formula 1 teams are anything but eager for Andretti Cadillac's entry. More teams on the grid means that the well-stocked prize pool has to be divided among more teams. Handing over money and allocating it to a newcomer who still has a lot to prove, (most) team owners in the paddock do not like that. The most outspoken opponent of Andretti's arrival was (and is?) Toto Wolff, the big man behind Mercedes.

Other teams already too busy

Supplying Andretti with an engine was never really an option for Toto Wolff and Mercedes, given their large list of clients already. With Aston Martin, McLaren and Williams, the team already has three customer teams buying Mercedes power units. Facilitating a fourth team was probably a bit too much.

The same was true for Ferrari. The Italians have a strong power unit, but in terms of reliability there is still a lot to work on. In recent times (and no doubt in the coming period too), Ferrari needed all the manpower it could get to make its power unit solid. Meanwhile, two teams (Alfa Romeo and Haas) have to be supplied with engines in addition to their own. Adding another team would have been unfeasible for the Italians.

One option

Red Bull Racing actually runs with a Honda engine, although it is officially called Red Bull Powertrains. In addition, Max Verstappen's team is busy building its own engine department from scratch. Time and space to help Andretti was unlikely to be there. This left Alpine as the only serious option for Andretti. The French team made strides in speed and reliability in recent years, but other teams were nevertheless reluctant to buy the engines from the former Renault team. So Alpine are the only team in Formula 1 making power units for themselves. A customer team at least provides financial support.


Frankly, in the end, Alpine had not even had much choice. If Andretti Cadillac is indeed allowed by the FIA and FOM to join and there would be no engine supplier for the Americans at that time, the manufacturer with the fewest customer teams would have been obliged to supply power units. So that would be Alpine. No doubt with this fact in mind, it was the smartest thing for Alpine to do a good deal with Andretti Cadillac, rather than being forced by the FIA to go with the American motorsport giants.