The Andretti entry has officially cleared its first major hurdle to enter Formula 1, with the legendary racing family having been approved by the FIA.
While their admission into the sport is far from a guarantee, with Formula One Management (FOM) still needing to sign off on the deal, getting the sport’s governing body’s approval is a major step for the Andretti family, given the recent pushback they’ve received from several of the 10 current Formula 1 teams.
With 2026 being the earliest that they can roll onto the grid, there is still plenty of time for things to shake out, such as the driver market and the proposed regulation changes.
Should Andretti Global receive the final stamp of approval, there would be plenty of positives for the sport and its supporters. For one, the family name is among the most famous in all of sports, and their American heritage makes them a promotion machine for a sport that is booming in North America.
But most importantly to drivers, they will be no backmarker. They have demonstrated a capability of running a top-tier motorsports team at the highest level with their success in IndyCar.
Given that their entry season will also feature a complete overhaul of the current regulations, both on the engine and the chassis side, they will be on relatively equal ground with everybody else with a forced fresh start.
If anything, they may have the advantage of gearing 100% of their development toward the 2026 car, while the other teams develop that car alongside their 2024 and 2025 challengers.
All of these scenarios point to the two Andretti Global seats being very attractive options, and there will likely be plenty of available drivers of interest to the team when the time comes.
Possible Andretti Global Formula 1 drivers: No. 1 – Colton Herta
Colton Herta is by far the top candidate for an Andretti Formula 1 seat. The 23-year-old son of former IndyCar driver Bryan Herta already races for Andretti Global in IndyCar, and he is unarguably one of the most talented drivers on the current grid.
Since his debut in 2018, the Santa Clarita, California native has racked up seven race victories, 11 pole positions, and 12 podium finishes in what is objectively the most equal and competitive top-level racing series in the world.
Since joining Andretti Autosport in 2020, Herta has been their top finisher (or tied for it) in the championship every single season, and he has contended for wins and podium finishes even when his team has had lackluster machinery.
His talent has been so prominent in recent years that he was even rumored as a potential AlphaTauri driver for 2023, before his lack of FIA Super License points prevented him from entering the sport.
Yes, he has made a chunk of high-profile mistakes on the race track in the last few years. Look no further than when he threw away a dominant weekend in Nashville in 2021 by hitting the barrier toward the end of the race.
However, it’s very clear that Andretti has been more than willing to look past that, because his raw speed and abilities far outweigh his downside. Despite all of his success and experience, it’s easy to forget that he’s still only 23 years old, and young drivers of his caliber almost always mature with time. The 2026 season is still a long way away.
If Michael Andretti’s words are anything to go by, Herta is ready for Formula 1.
"“Lando [Norris] was once Colton’s team-mate and they were on the same level. If you look at Lando in Formula 1 now, you know what Colton could do as well.”"
Given that he signed an extension in late 2022 to stay with the team — and with primary sponsorship Gainbridge — through the 2027 season, he is contractually tied to Andretti past the time that they would likely enter Formula 1. Who’s to say that the two sides can’t alter his contract slightly to get him into their Formula 1 program?
Given how well Herta and the team know each other, it really is a no-brainer.