(Reuters) - Motor racing great Mario Andretti would love to see Italian carmaker Ferrari join the North American Indycar series as a chassis and engine supplier.
Andretti, one of four drivers to claim both the Formula One and IndyCar drivers championships, said in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport on Sunday that IndyCar series owner Roger Penske and Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto should get together to discuss a collaboration.
“Having Ferrari would be incredible,” Andretti told the Italian sports newspaper. “Not only as an engine supplier, but also as a chassis builder.
“It is clear that the rules should be changed, but I would like an all-Italian Dallara v Ferrari battle. The Cavallino (Ferrari’s Prancing Horse symbol) would increase interest in the championship, but there is an obstacle in the rules.
“I suggest Binotto comes and proposes an idea to Roger Penske.”
Andretti’s role in IndyCar is now mostly ambassadorial but he remains a fixture on the circuit working with son Michael, also a former F1 and IndyCar driver who now operates numerous racing teams including IndyCar, Indy Lights and Formula E.
Currently IndyCar has two engine suppliers, Chevrolet and Honda, while Dallara makes the chassis for all teams.
Bringing Formula One’s glamour team into the IndyCar picture could be more than just fanciful pondering from Andretti with Ferrari resisting new FIA budget caps that could result in the loss of hundreds of jobs at the Maranello based operation.
Formula One teams have agreed verbally to lower the 2021 budget cap from the $175 million set in the regulations to $145 million but some are pushing for further cuts to reflect the global financial crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some other teams are keen on a figure closer to $100 million but Ferrari, the sport’s oldest and most successful team, oppose further reductions.
Ferrari, which makes its own car and engines, has said hundreds of jobs would be at risk under a lower cap.
One possible solution could see Ferrari expanding its motor racing footprint by deploying staff elsewhere into other series such as IndyCar, Le Mans or sportscars.
Ferrari has long flirted with the idea of getting involved in IndyCar. In 1985 Ferrari struck a deal with Truesports Racing and Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal to develop an IndyCar.
Although a car was developed it never made it onto the starting grid.
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris