Ben Sulayem “surprised” by “adverse reaction” to Andretti-Cadillac F1 bid

2023 F1 season

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FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem says he is “surprised” by the “adverse reaction” to Andretti and Cadillac’s announcement that they will team up for a bid to join Formula 1 as a new entry.

Ben Sulayem announced recently that Formula 1’s governing body would open up an expressions of interest process to evaluate possible new teams joining the F1 grid in future seasons. Soon after, Andretti confirmed its intention to apply to join Formula 1 in partnership with GM brand Cadillac, which Ben Sulayem publicly welcomed

However, there remains notable opposition to any new teams joining Formula 1 from both existing teams and F1 itself. F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has previously stated he does not believe additional teams are needed in the championship, while an unnamed senior team source told Reuters that Andretti’s chances of being successful in its bid remained ‘highly unlikely’ and that a ‘strong majority’ of current teams were against adding any new competitors to the grid.

Formula 1 introduced an anti-dilution fee of $200m for any new entries into the regulations to try and limit how much funding the existing ten teams will lose in having to share prize money and TV payment money among each other. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has previously said accepting new teams would mean reduced funding for current teams.

“An 11th team means a 10% dilution for everybody else,” said Wolff. “If one is able to demonstrate that, then we should all be sitting at the table and cheer for such an entry. But that hasn’t been demonstrated yet.”

However, in a post on social media today, FIA president Ben Sulayem expressed his view that the Andretti-Cadillac application was only a positive thing for Formula 1.

“It is surprising that there has been some adverse reaction to the Cadillac and Andretti news,” Ben Sulayem said.

“The FIA has accepted smaller, successful organisations in recent years. We should be encouraging prospective F1 entries from global manufacturers like GM and thoroughbred racers like Andretti and others. Interest from teams in growth markets adds diversity and broadens F1’s appeal.”

Ben Sulayem has said the process of evaluating possible new entries into Formula 1 would take several months. Any new teams who are approved would most likely join when the new power unit formula is introduced in 2026.

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  • 47 comments on “Ben Sulayem “surprised” by “adverse reaction” to Andretti-Cadillac F1 bid”

    1. If the teams and F1 were going to reject any new team anyway, why did they bother instituting the £200 million dilution fee? Did the just expect that to dissuade anyone from even trying? They must have been surprised when Andretti brought in in the Guggenheims in to pay that part and all it does at this point is leave them look like massive jerks for setting the requirements and still saying “nope” when someone meets them.

      1. Yes, they were deliberately trying to exclude anyone from joining. As much as I respect Wolff as a team leader, the attitude of “they have to prove themselves before they can join” leads to the question of “how do they prove themselves in F1 if they’re not allowed in F1?”.

        It’s a catch-22, and it’s deliberately designed to keep the exclusivity and value of the TV money to the existing teams– probably because if they have to split the pot 11 ways, they’ll be forced to do it a bit more equitably, and the top teams DO NOT want that.

        1. grat,
          Wolff has been exposed since 2021 as the hypocrite shady character he has always been. I have been calling his behaviour ever since he joined Mercedes on this proper forum. The funny thing is that Wolff who is nobody racing wise compared to the Andretti’s, has bought his way into F1 dealing with shady people like Colin Colles and Bernie Ecclestone to buy a stake into the failing Williams team and then Mercedes.

          1. Everyone in F1 prior to a couple years ago dealt with Bernie. Most of the “shady” things Wolff is accused of are unsubstantiated, or based on inaccurate reporting by others– the 1.6L V6 Turbo-Hybrid specification is a classic example. People frequently claim that Mercedes was able to develop a dominant engine because they had a head start– but the reality is that the change to V6 was made public to everyone. Mercedes was doing development work well ahead, but not of a full engine. And finally, Mercedes threw a massive development team at the project– If I recall, Mercedes had about 50 engineers working on the engine, Ferrari had about 25, and Renault about 10 to 15.

            Another claim is that Wolff just took advantage of all the work done under Brawn– Partly true, but the same people continued working under Wolff, and Ross Brawn’s name was never on the W05.

            I repeatedly ask for people to provide documented instances of Wolff lying– no one takes me up on it. He’s very straightforward, and his leadership of Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team has been first rate.

            But yes, he’s wrong to oppose expansion of the grid, personal opinion.

            1. grat, don’t bother – to Tifoso1989, Ferrari is always the innocent victim and Toto is always the evil monster that can be invoked as a hate figure to excuse Ferrari’s mistakes and to create a victimhood narrative.

              Add to that, he’ll follow the far right tactics of labelling any media that doesn’t conform to his particular world view as biased – even better if it is foreign, so he can then rant about “biased English press” with the rather heavy tone of xenophobia that comes across in his posts.

              It does not matter what factual evidence you might offer him – he thinks that it’s a problem that Wolff dealt with Ecclestone, even though entering the sport at that time would have pretty much enforced dealing with him given his role as the head of FOM, but he doesn’t have a problem with the fact that individuals like Maurizio Arrivabene, whom he talks so fondly about, was dealing with Ecclestone for decades, or similarly for Binotto to have also dealt with Ecclestone over the years too.

              The cognitive dissonance is strong with that poster – he’ll defend an action to the death if it was somebody from Ferrari doing it, but will condemn exactly the same action if it’s somebody who isn’t part of Ferrari.

            2. anon,
              Your rhetorical hyperbole to portray me as a hysteric Ferrari fan is entirely false. You seem to remember that I don’t like Mercedes (I never said the opposite by the way) but you also forget that I have been highly critical of Ferrari and their top management on this proper forum.

              You seem to go too far this time labelling me as xenophobic to the British just because I’m not a Hamilton/Mercedes fan–boy. You do realize that there is a strong anti-Ferrari bias driven by some media means (the likes of Andrew Benson, BBC, Sky Sports…) who will not lose any opportunity to criticize the team and creating stories out of nothing.

              As for Wolff, even if he had to deal with Ecclestone you seem to forget that I have mentioned Colin Kolles who later blackmailed him to extort money in exchange for him keeping secret the details of their conversation in which Wolff criticized Brawn, Lauda, Zetsche. I have always been calling the behaviour of Toto simply because the man doesn’t lose any opportunity to lecture other people about values and principles.

              He seems to portray himself as a decent individual while he has always been a sour loser doing sometimes the exact same behaviour he criticize his rivals for. I don’t recall Ferrari team principles (Binotto and Maurizio) that I have criticized countless times on this proper forum doing the same thing.

              By the way, you have been going after anyone who dares to criticize Mercedes and you seem to be triggered by anything related to RBR and Max Verstappen. Your thoughts ?

          2. Coventry Climax
            9th January 2023, 20:54

            Besides that, he’s not very good at calculus either.
            An amount of X for 10 teams is X/10 per team.
            That same amount of X for 11 teams is X/11 per team.
            The difference ((X/10)-(X/11)) to what it was (X/10) is 9.0909 %, whatever X is.
            I’ll say thank for 0.909% of a couple of million any day.

            But: Maybe an 11th team brings in more spectators, more race fees, more whatever, and X can be augmented, becoming Y. That would mean that not the ‘same amount of X’ would be divided over 11 teams, but Y, with a net positive result, or way less than 9%?
            Anyway, if F1 says FY, fans, we’re not gonna have more teams and suit yourself, than my answer is FY F1.

    2. How could any thinking entity be surprised by the reaction after the past 6 months?

      Did Mr Ben Sulayem truly expect that adding a Cadillac sticker to the bid would make it a no-brainer?

      1. There is nothing positive in the adverse reaction of the other F1 team ; the only reason for this opposition is that they will face a 10% decrease of revenue. Funny, considering the sale teams complains about the budget cap being too low (so they are ready to spend more).

        All this to say FIA and Liberty Media should not listen to them, their reaction are irrelevant.

        Sure, the FIA and LM have to make sure new entrants are worthy of F1, meaning the project is solid and well funded. We don’t want a repeat of the Virgin/catheram/… era.

        But when you have a very well funded power house like Andretti supported by a big manufactor like GM, let’s stop the BS, there is no reason to refuse the entry.

        1. Liberty is part of the opposition here Hal.

          1. Coventry Climax
            9th January 2023, 20:57

            and catherham never existed

            1. Mark in Florida
              10th January 2023, 1:47

              It was Catheterham. Everybody knows that, stop being pendantic CC!😉😎

      2. Why wouldn’t bringing in one of the world’s largest automakers and an American one at that be a no-brainer?

        1. @darryn it is with the caveat that the CEO of General Motors has confirmed that they are appearing only as a sponsor – i.e. they’ll be buying engines from another supplier and putting their name on the cover. In other words, General Motors’s involvement would be the same as what Alfa Romeo was doing with Sauber – i.e. it’s a sponsorship deal that could be ended very easily.

          1. And yet nobody inside F1 said anything even remotely similarly negative about the Alfa Romeo deal….
            But then, Alfa Romeo are European and have even (officially) competed in F1 before.

          2. Yeah, I get that part. It just seems like a no-brainer with the pedigree of Andretti and his massive team to start with and a giant sponsor on top of that. Red Bull was also just a sponsor at one point. This just seems like it’s personal somehow.

            1. Red Bull was also just a sponsor at one point.

              And then they bought a team. And then they bought another team. And then they bought the #2 designer of his generation.

              Wake me up after Mr Andretti manages step 1.

    3. petebaldwin (@)
      8th January 2023, 14:48

      Why be surprised? The FIA are the only ones who even pretend to care about the sport. The rest just want whatever makes them the richest.

    4. Exactly. The inmates run the prison.

      1. Your idiom of choice paints quite a bleak picture of Formula One. Not that I disagree with it.

      2. ‘Asylum’ might be a better descriptor…..

      3. This is really the problem. There was a time when the FIA made the rules and the teams abided by them. I don’t remember why that changed. Maybe Bernie and Max.

    5. Maybe they should have spent that $500m on increasing the prize fund to be able to pay more than 10 teams rather than spending it on the Las Vegas Liberty vanity project.

      But it’s all about the Liberty show more than the actual sport now isn’t it.

      1. Nope – it’s all about how much money the (existing) teams make.

        If those teams didn’t have Liberty by the dangly bits, the Concorde Agreement would have been based on the maximum 13 teams in the financial format from the outset – or 12 at the very least, so it wouldn’t ‘cost’ the existing teams anything if a new team or two entered.

    6. It’s not at all surprising – just disappointing.
      If F1’s revenue was dropping instead of growing, they’d be begging for new teams of Andretti’s calibre to enter. Especially when they are bringing another global automotive super-brand with them.

      F1 just can’t help making itself look really silly at every opportunity. It’s compulsive.

    7. I know some team principles have been cold to the prospect of Andretti joining the grid, but this was before the Cadillac/GM announcement. I’m not aware of any team or F1 rights holder Liberty Media saying anything negative in recent days. From what I had heard coming out of Andretti’s camp since late last year they were quite upbeat about entering the sport. I’m 99.9% sure they will join the grid in ’26, F1 has been obsessed with cracking the US market and Haas don’t really seem to be taking F1 seriously, I’m looking forward to seeing what Andretti can do and the Cadillac partnership all but guarantees their entry imho.

    8. In what sport do the competitors decide who enters the sport and who does not? What if Rafael Nadal was able to pick the tennis players to play against to win a Grand Slam? What if Martin Fourcade decided to race only against Spanish biathletes?

      This is yet another proof that F1 is hardly a sport.

      1. In what sport do the competitors decide who enters the sport and who does not?

        Every single major American sports league. (and any other franchise-based leagues from around the world, too)

    9. I understood the 200m dilution fee was the appease the teams and the fee could be waived with the teams’ voting in favour (which you almost never get the majority of teams to agree to)

      1. It’s a bribe. As such, it will never be waived.

    10. Toto: By my math, adding two teams would reduce the top teams payouts by less than 5%– Which will still leave the top 3 teams receiving MORE than the current budget cap. Not to mention which, the base pay per team would increase due to the expected increase in viewership that a name like Andretti would bring to the table.

      Add to that the $200 million bribe being required of new teams, and the existing teams get either a one time 57% boost, or enough money to make up the losses for 5-7 years.

      Your argument doesn’t hold up, and it makes you look petty. Get over it.

    11. What a nice openly visible token of inadequacy from all stakeholders in this circus. I said it before, the time is right for an alternative governing body. This has for quite some time little to do with a sport event

    12. End of the day the teams are there to make money, growth of the sport is no where near their priorities.

      1. Coventry Climax
        9th January 2023, 21:07

        Correction: In this sport, with these teams, these governing bodies and in these times.
        Originally, that is not what sports was about and -to my opinion- not what it should be about, even today.

    13. Are we heading into another Super League -situation ?

      Well, whoever after the split runs Spa-Monaco-Monza-Suzuka-Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in a 1000HP open wheel 30 car field, gets my money

      1. Unlikely, Formula 1 as a brand is exceedingly strong at the moment, much more so than the individual teams. This makes this a rather unique situation compared to earlier years when Ferrari could threaten with breakaway series and be taken seriously.

      2. I’m unclear as to who is supposed to threaten whom with what in your scenario.

        Would you mind expanding on your comment?

        1. Like the Super League, someone sees a possibility on the commercial side of the sport in question and decides to go against the establishment (FIFA Champions League football and apparently the same happens in Golf, which isn’t a sport but attracts billions of USD)

          The FOM takes exception to FIA having any opinion on who gets to join the Formula One World Championship and creates a new, SuperDuperFormula that has a strictly limited entry to ten teams and contracts the biggest venues around the world to run in a “championship” of open wheel racing, that is now governed by FOM among themselves, and as they own the commercial rights to the name Formula 1 , they’d just be relegating use of the “world” championship. Most consumers wouldn’t notice

    14. Many viable teams have been denied entry into F1 in the past. Sentiments shouldn’t get in the way of the process.
      At the moment, F1 is 35% sham and 65% reality with balance being tipped in the direction of sham every moment.
      I would love to see more American teams and manufacturers but going through recent history, that would be just like wearing different masks to fit the occasion.
      Do we want to see true competion or just a different badge on an existing entity and all the pretence that “we did it”.

    15. Does Ben Sulayem see the bigger picture differently to the teams who all seem to think about themselves and the revenue dilution.
      It has taken F1 a long time to grow F1 in the US to where it is now as they do like to follow their own sports, Indy, NFL, NBA etc. What effect would rejecting an all American team have on the new fan base in America, could it be taken personally and they all think that if this sport isn’t really interested in our country because we don’t add anything then why should I be interested in your sport.
      If the interest in the US faded then the revenue streams in F1 would fall away and the current teams would be even worse off than they are now but I assume they don’t see this as a possible outcome.

      1. Just remember one thing about major US sports leagues: They are very good at increasing the value of their existing teams by not letting anyone who fancies a team but cannot get an existing owner to sell to them just start a new one and demand part of the existing revenue streams.

      2. Does Ben Sulayem see the bigger picture differently to the teams who all seem to think about themselves and the revenue dilution.

        Yes. As do most viewers.

        It has taken F1 a long time to grow F1 in the US to where it is now as they do like to follow their own sports, Indy, NFL, NBA etc.

        American viewers, just like European viewers, prefer live sports to play out in their own timezone, too. Not so much at crazy times of the morning.
        The other major factor is that everyone remembers Indy 2005… Did a lot of damage to F1’s image and it’s taking a long time to rebuild goodwill and trust.

        You do make a good point – F1 does tend to present itself with a manner of superiority. It’s a real turn-off for a lot of people – especially when the on-track product is usually pretty poor and the prices are truly excessive.

    16. back in the day new teams didn’t ask for permission. They just came. In the end some of them left quite fast (Andrea Moda)

    17. Mark in Florida
      10th January 2023, 1:59

      Another case of letting the inmates run the prison! Nobody put up opposition to Mercedes joining or Manor or Marussia or HRT. Only when its the “other guy” from America that might give you a run for your money. The other guy who unlike you Toto is a real racer, team owner and team manager. A guy who has been very successful in his own right unlike you who conspired to kick the real team leader out and claimed the glory for yourself. Yeah lets hear all about values from you Toto. Surprise everyone and just say it out loud your the leader of a team mafia that wants to keep everyone else out. Even 200 million can’t buy your way in.

      1. Well Mark the reply/answer would just be something like this, and he/they keep getting away with it.

        I told you way back in ’22
        That I would never go with you

        I hear you knockin’
        But you can’t come in
        I hear you knockin’
        Go back where you been

    18. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      10th January 2023, 13:28

      I know how to solve this – a one-time 7 million dollar bonus to each team along with a guarantee of 2 championships!

      Ben Sulayem has been going about this the wrong way. He just needs to apply the same principles that have been applied to Red Bull over the past 2 seasons.

      He’d have no problem getting everyone’s signatures – in fact, most teams would sign twice.

    Comments are closed.