Andretti lobbies for F1 customer teams

The United States has had a colored history in Formula One. The US Grand Prix has bounced around more locations than a pop-up restaurant, we haven't sent one of our own into F1 since Scott Speed flunked out five years ago, and for all the racing Americans participate in at home, we've only produced two world champions. But one of those is hinting that we could be in for a change.

Speaking with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine, 1978 Formula One World Champion Mario Andretti suggested that Andretti Autosport - the team run by his son Michael, who also drove in F1 - would be interested in getting into grand prix racing if the series allowed it to run customer chassis.

"My son Michael is one of the first who would do that if he could buy a car from one of the top manufacturers," said the legendary Mario, who raised the idea directly with Bernie Ecclestone. "I find the idea interesting that a blue Ferrari overtakes a red Ferrari."

That certainly paints an interesting picture, but Formula One defines its entrants as constructors, not teams, and each is required to design and manufacture its own chassis from scratch. That was the heart of the controversy revolving around Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso, where the former used to design the chassis for the latter. But that was put to rest by even further entrenched rules forbidding the practice of customer teams in F1.

The notion, however tempting, of the FIA reversing its stance on the issue seems rather unlikely, but if anyone were up to the task it would surely be Andretti Autosport. The team has competed in CART, IndyCar, ALMS, A1GP and a handful of other series, and was among the first teams to sign up for the FIA Formula E series.

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