F1 logo, Zandvoort, 2022

Andretti-Cadillac announcement gets a cooler reception from F1 than FIA

2023 F1 season

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Just three days after FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem announced he planned to invite new teams to enter Formula 1, Andretti and Cadillac went public with their plans to join the championship.

Ben Sulayem was quick to welcome them, saying he was especially pleased by the expression of interest from two such well-known names.

“Today’s news from the United States is further proof of the popularity and growth of the FIA Formula One World Championship under the FIA’s stewardship,” he enthused. “It is particularly pleasing to have interest from two iconic brands such as General Motors Cadillac and Andretti Global.

“Any additional entries would build on the positive acceptance of the FIA’s 2026 PU regulations among OEMs which has already attracted an entry from Audi.”

Report: Andretti and Cadillac announce plans to enter Formula 1
But while Ben Sulayem was quick to claim credit for the interest on the behalf of the governing body, the reaction from the commercial rights holder was decidedly cooler. A spokesperson noted other potential new entrants have been in discussions with the series.

“There is great interest in the F1 project at this time with a number of conversations continuing that are not as visible as others,” they said.

“We all want to ensure the championship remains credible and stable and any new entrant request will be assessed on criteria to meet those objectives by all the relevant stakeholders.”

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“Any new entrant request requires the agreement of both F1 and the FIA,” the spokesperson added.

Feature: What happened to the last 10 new teams to enter Formula 1?
Andretti previously made attempts to take over existing teams. However it came up short in its pursuit of Force India in 2018, which was purchased by Lawrence Stroll and turned into Aston Martin, and Sauber in 2021, as it was unable to reach a satisfactory agreement.

Since then Michael Andretti’s operation has focused its energies on entering as a new team. However the existing competitors fear the expansion of the grid may dilute the value of the existing competitors. For this reason F1 introduced a rule requiring new teams to pay a $200 million “anti-dilution” charge on entering in 2021. Nonetheless, many team bosses reacted cautiously to the possibility of Andretti joining the grid.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has consistently indicated he has little appetite to expand the grid. He reiterated this view as recently as last November, underlining that F1 and the FIA must jointly agree for it to happen.

“With regard to the process related to the possibility of an F1 team to be [entered] into the championship, of course there is the primary that both us and the FIA have to be in agreement for that.

“I think the first thing that we need to consider is that this eventual possibility will bring an extra value to the championship. If so, of course we are going to discuss it internally and we’ll see if there’s any kind of a real potential new entry [which] can give the benefit for the value of the championship.

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“On top of it, there is a value that has to be recognised for the teams that are already into the championship because of course they cannot allow any dilution of their financial partnership with the F1 championship. So this is what is written in the Concorde Agreement.

Grid, Miami International Autodrome, 2022
Report: F1 sees “no pressing need” to add 11th team as Andretti bids to join grid
“But mainly the point is does eventually a new entry bring a better positional F1 championship? This is really about value, and in terms of value from the financial point of view and in terms of value from the sporting point of view and if I may on that it’s not a problem to do I think one more team to have a better racing.

“Therefore we will see, we will monitor the situation. If there will be a real credible new entry team that want to discuss with us, we are ready to discuss, but we are not in a rush position today for that.”

Two months on, the FIA has given Andretti the opportunity it was looking for. Now Andretti has lured a brand from one of the world’s biggest carmakers to join it, F1 will have a hard time arguing their proposed team would not enhance its championship.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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34 comments on “Andretti-Cadillac announcement gets a cooler reception from F1 than FIA”

  1. Stickering “Cadillac” on whatever Andretti may come up with in a few years adds as much to Formula 1 as stickering “Alfa-Romeo” on a Sauber.

    1. Except Andretti will actually compete and try to fight the big boys, unlike Sauber or Haas, which will only ever be B teams (until Audi takes over).

      1. Given that one of the sticking points for the Andretti buyout of Sauber was who gets control over the team, I’m not sure the Audi thing is going to happen.

        1. Just look at who Sauber’s CEO is before you make that assumption

  2. This is stupid to me. Why say that you’re open to new entries if you’re only going to shoot them down? Just shut it down. It makes F1 look elitist and arrogant. If we were talking about 3 new teams entering like 2010, then yes, arguably there is a point to be made about the impact to the show and competitiveness and dilution. But its 1 team. A team with very legit motorsport credentials, far more than Lawrence Stroll or some other recent team owners.
    Andretti would be a much better addition to F1 than Haas has been which will only ever be Ferrari’s B team. Theyll arguably be more competitive, which would of course enhance the show and the competition. You cant say youre a world championship when legit petrolheads are trying to compete and you wont let them.

    1. It feels like they can’t decide If they want to be an approachable fair sport or keep their elitist roots. This headline says it all. The FIA wants competition but the F1 teams don’t want money split up more. It’s silly and makes them look like grade-A assh*les

  3. What’s the beef with Andretti? Has he not brutalized enough people for F1’s current tastes? Is it that he isn’t from a brutal dictatorship trying to wash it’s bloody hands?

    1. Yeah, I am a bit flustered by that too @darryn. Surely a racer like Andretti wanting in, and managing to get GM on board for it with their Cadillac brand is a good thing.

      Sure, we will see how (and even IF) they make it to the grid. And we will have to see how they will be doing once they get there. But we did not expect much from Haas and they haven’t done all that bad, I would say. Andretti is as big a name in USA Motorsports, and the name means more in F1 than Haas, AND he’s bringing a big manufacturer with him.

      I am looking forward to seeing them join in. Probably makes most sense to get there by 2026 with the new engines, just like Audi will with their own engine. It does make me wonder even more whether Honda will really get back into the sport though (who is going to run their engines if RBR goes their own way? Buy Alpha Tauri?)

    2. I don’t see any problems with Andretti and i would see them to join F1. I like a field of 30 cars so let them come :)
      That will be max 13 teams with 26 cars as most circuits can handle more then 26 cars.

  4. It’s pretty clear that Liberty are only interested if it’s a full manufacturer entry buying, Especially if it’s a manufacturer buying an existing team.

    Liberty clearly don’t see a value in new independent entries because they have no knowledge of respect for the sports history or heritage of small independent teams.

    If Andretti was Ford you know that Liberty would be right there going on and on about how wonderful it is to have a new entry interested. But an independent entry from one of the most famous and passionate families in the sport with a team that has a history of success in multiple categories is something they couldn’t care a less about because it won’t give them the same bragging rights as a full manufacturer.

    1. Not at all– The TEAMS don’t want another team in F1, because it might diminish their payments. Which are already close to exceeding the budget cap in some cases.

      1. @grat – true, and considering we last seen a full grid of 26 F1 cars in Monaco 1995, it is ironic that the current teams are worried about “diluting the value” when actually they should be paying any potential newcomer until the grid is full again because of all the extra money they made when we had only 18-20 cars rather than 26.

      2. The teams don’t run the sport or make the decisions, Thats on Liberty & if they really wanted an Andretti entry they would push to get it just as they did when they bent over backwards to try & get Audi & Porsche entries.

        It’s true that some of the teams have been down on an Andretti entry but it’s not as if Liberty have been any more open to it & it’s been Liberty rather than the teams who have on more than one occasion said they don’t want or need more teams.

        Putting Liberty aside. The teams should have no say in the matter. The grid limit is 26 so as long as a team has the capabilities of designing, manufacturing & running 2 cars they should be able to enter regardless of what other teams or even Liberty say. Thats how it worked in the past before F1 became so elitist & closed shop & it’s how things should work again.

        The more teams the better as it’s not only more spots for drivers but also more spots for mechanics, engineers etc..

  5. A big problem with having only 10 teams is that there are just not enough driver seats, upcoming talent cannot get in, experienced drivers end up in test driver roles, it’s musical chairs each summer depending on where a few top drivers decide to go, and realistically, only half a dozen drivers at most ever have any shot at winning the WDC. Even when a team decides to go out on a limb and give a young unknown driver a shot, the FIA steps in and says “Indy car driver? oh no no no no no no no”.

    1. True this too

  6. What I don’t understand is why FOM has a say in it at all. Surely it should be solely up to the FIA to decide who can and can’t enter their championship.

    1. The FIA is also a signatory to the Concorde Agreement, which gives FOM a say. Everyone agreed to it.

    2. It is and should be exactly the opposite since the FIA is simply a sanctioning body. It’s like saying the SCCA should be the ones to determine who can enter American racing series.

  7. I don’t know how much more creditable you get than an establishment IndyCar team paired with one of the worlds biggest manufacturers. If that’s not good enough for F1 then I don’t think F1 is actually serious about expanding the grid.

    1. Sounds like F1 is speaking out of both sides of it’s mouth. How is Andretti + GM not top tier pedigree. Like who does F1 want to join? Elon? lol

    2. Good point Dane, especially when you consider some of the names that have raced in recent years, Marussia, Virgin, Spyker, Force India, none of those were exactly pinnacle of motor sport tems were they?

      1. Spyker and Force India were the same team and had very good results untill they won races as Racing Point.

        1. MacLeod, my point was that before they popped up in F1, the vast majority of people would not have heard of Spyker or Marussia etc. I wouldn’t have said those teams had a good racing pedigree but still they were admitted. I think Marussia had only been in existence for three years building a supercar prior to becoming an F1 constructor. I think Marussia took over Virgin, which had taken over Manor, and Manor had only taken part in a few seasons of F3 prior to joining F1. On the Spyker front, if memory serves, they took over Midland who had taken over the Jordan assets. These are examples of people deciding to get into F1 by buying a defunct team. I cannot think of an example of a recent team which has competed successfully in other formulas and stepped up to F1 as a new entrant.

    3. This. It is hard to imagine a better entry. Maybe if we were discussing who takes the final team then maybe there would be ground for caution but there will still be two slots left after this one is taken.

      Apparently WEC will have 18 cars in their top class in 2024, and has three other classes as well. Puts things in perspective.

  8. Andretti is serious, wants in and have the money play for a while. What’s the problem? Let them in!

    1. he can buy out a team anytime he wants. money talks.

      1. No he can’t if noone wants to sell which is the cause on this moment.

  9. Ten teams is too small for what is meant to be the pinnacle of motorsport, especially when you have a few paid drivers that have no business being in F1 and some teams that have no ability to win races.

  10. FOM is NOT looking good always stomping on Andretti and co. Esp now with GM on board. Get out of your own way FOM and stop letting the teams decide using greedy eyes. Fill the damn grid already! All the fans want more cars and competition so if Andretti have what it takes (along with GM) then boom. let them play. My god I love Williams and all but they (other than Goerge and now Albon) have brought 0 to the racing in years so, tell me how it’s different?

  11. You would think the money & financial credibility of the entry is the real sticking point.

    One of the main problems from the perspective of 10 teams is: the distribution of prize money has always been based on the percentage of a total dollar figure. When you add in an 11th or 12th team, the total dollar figure doesn’t increase, and the teams won’t allow any new team to have a slice of the pie because it diminishes the size of their piece. A secondary concern would be competitiveness of the team, namely no one wants a new team that will always be completely uncompetitive.

    From the FIA/FOM perspective, you’d think they’re primarily thinking about how long the new team will be around, and whether they have long term plans to stay given how expensive it is to run a team.. that has alot to do with how deep their pockets are, and obviously backing by a big manufacturer would be beneficial. A secondary benefit is the ‘value’ they talk about, which really is a reference to growing popularity of the sport in the US.

  12. Regardless of whether Andretti are allowed to enter or not – I’m enjoying the increasing tension between the FIA, Liberty and the teams.
    The FIA seem to be heading back to prioritising a more sporting direction – which, in F1, is usually at odds with the commercial interests which Liberty and the teams are more focused on.

    Personally, I would ask what value does GM Cadillac bring to F1 when they won’t actually be doing anything but supplying a logo and a cheque? The cars will be running engines that are not just unrelated to any part of the GM business, but in fact come from their industry competitors.
    Not that we should even mention ‘value’ – because doing so only confirms that F1 is business and not sport.
    Which is exactly what Liberty and the teams want it to be.

    1. The value of the brand is more eyes from the land of Liberty. So if there is ever a team which could actually grow the pie they’re intending to take a slice of, it’s likely Andretti with an American manufacturer’s sticker on it.

      1. Yeah, that’s the most intriguing part. Why would Domenicali be so overtly against adding new teams when there’s such an enormous market there?
        Perhaps he knows that even an ideal American team won’t grow F1 enough to compensate for the losses his Big 3 Team ‘friends’ would incur by cutting that pie up into more pieces….
        If the new team becomes a perennial backmarker, then they’ve added no ‘value’ – but if they are good, they are taking prize money that ‘belongs’ to an existing team…. It’s a no-win situation.

        It’s funny that Bernie was openly against any and every backmarker team, and yet Liberty are the ones who are proudly saying they don’t want any more teams at all. Not even good ones or popular ones.

  13. “all-American” = go away

    We have plenty of nationalistic silliness in Ferraris on/off all-Italian approach.

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