Domenicali criticises Andretti ‘shouting and pushing the system’ to get into F1

2023 F1 season

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Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has criticised Michael Andretti’s attempts to enter the championship, saying remarks made by the former driver were “not smart”.

Last month Andretti accused existing F1 teams who oppose him entering the sport of “very greedy thinking”.

The FIA subsequently opened an applications process for new entrants to the championship 10 days ago. They have been given the choice of entering in 2025, 2026 or 2027.

Domenicali told Sky F1 is “very welcoming of everyone that is bringing value to the racing” and pointed out other potential entries besides Andretti’s have emerged.

He denied the series regards Andretti’s entry as unwelcome. “That is not a problem of not welcoming because that has been a wrong wording,” he said.

“We need to respect everyone. There are teams like Mario and Michael Andretti being very vocal about their will to enter Formula 1 but in my view were not smart to say that teams are greedy to protect themself. But that’s my opinion.

“There are others that are much less vocal that would like to come into Formula 1. So there is a process to respect and we will make sure together with the FIA that the process will be respected.”

Andretti’s hopes of entering a team have been known for many months. He has previously attempted to buy into existing teams, such as Force India (now known as Aston Martin) and Alfa Romeo (run by Sauber).

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After FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem announced the governing body would allow new teams to apply to enter the sport, Andretti’s group issued a press release revealing it had agreed a deal with General Motors brand Cadillac to co-operate on an entry into the championship.

The Andretti Group also competes in IndyCar, Formula E, Extreme E and IMSA. It is building an extensive new headquarters in Indianapolis at a cost of £170 million.

However existing F1 teams have expressed scepticism at the need to expand the grid, pointing out that doing so would reduce their earnings from the sport. New teams are required to pay an “anti-dilution fee” of $200 million which is shared among the existing entrants.

No new team can enter the championship without the support of both F1 and the FIA, the sport’s governing body. Asked whether F1 would allow an 11th team in, Domenicali said “if all the elements are there, they will be very welcome. There are a lot of dimensions to consider.

“We don’t have to overreact because someone is pushing the system,” he added. “We need to take action because I believe that today what is more vital is to protect the growth of the sport and also the sustainability of the teams that have invested in Formula 1 in the times where things were different. The value of that investment today for the pure commercial point of view is much more different than was just couple of years ago.

“So I think that the process that will be done will be done seriously in the right way, and no one can put that with the anxiety to take the right decision because someone is shouting and some other less shouting.”

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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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38 comments on “Domenicali criticises Andretti ‘shouting and pushing the system’ to get into F1”

  1. Domenicali is a hypocrite.
    Andretti has been doing what he needs to be doing. He’s been “shouting and pushing”, because he’s not as respected as a big corporationbefore which people like Domenicalli put siginificantly fewer road blocks.

    1. The World upside down. Proves once again F1 is not in good hands with Liberty.

  2. If you can build a car and fall within the performance requirement there should be no limitation on entries, at all. How this is even a debate is unbelievable. There should be no such restriction on an FIA World Championship event.

    1. Mr Andretti and his investors, after trying and failing multiple times to acquire an F1 entry, are trying to take advantage of a massive undervaluation of an F1 entry in the current set of commercial agreements by forcing the grant of a new entry.

      1. And, by your criteria, so would any other entry; any other entry would also ‘take advantage of a massive undervaluation’. You seem to think there should not be any more teams. Honestly, I don’t understand your continual concern for the finances of F1 teams; do you have a stake in a team? What ‘value’ do you think a new entrant should bring? Andretti is willing to pay the $200 million entry, is building a new $200 million facility, has a very long and successful history in racing in many categories, and has the backing of a GMC brand. What more do you want? You seem to have some deep dislike towards Andretti… I hope you mock other entry attempts with the same zeal.

        1. Mark in Florida
          12th February 2023, 15:08

          I think he’s actually the secret PR person for Toto. All proesterchen does is complain about Americans in any way shape or form. There is no barrier or obstacle that Andretti hasn’t said he would meet to get into F1. Yet its still not enough for Domenicali and the current teams. The fact that Andretti far exceeds the qualifications needed to field a team is being totally ignored as though it was irrelevant somehow. He is a proven winner in any category that he runs is team in. He has the backing from the biggest carmaker in the world. I guess its because GM isn’t a winner at racing? Oh wait haven’t they won Lemans 8 times in 19 starts? I’ve watched Corvettes kick Ferraris ##s numerous times personally at Sebring. I guess there must be that latent fear that GM will embarrass them in F1. I think it boils down to pure greed over the future health of the sport.

          1. I think he’s actually the secret PR person for Toto.

            I’m curious, what’s the hate-on-Toto thing all about?
            I saw some stuff recently where it was explained that the people that get hit by the dilution of the pot to an 11th entry are not the front running teams. The ones that stand to lose noticeable percentages are the back markers.

      2. Not true. He was willing to consider any new demands, and he simply asked what he has to do to be allowed to enter the “sport”. Then you have guys running teams saying “we don’t need new teams” or “what’s the benefit of having a new team?”. Besides, are you an F1 fan or an existing team owner? Why should you care more for their interest than your own?

    2. Precisely. If this is a sport, and a world championship, there MUST be a way to qualify based on performance (even if number of competitors is limited). If everything is simply a matter of business agreement and nothing else, in other words completely arbitrary, then this thing can’t be called a sport, and it’s not a world championship, but a reality show/competition between a closed circle of friends and business partners. F1 functions like a well organized cartel.

      1. I very much agree. To be honest, if a private individual turned up at an event with a car which met the regulations and a driver with a valid superlicense, why should they not be allowed to take part, or at least to attempt to qualify? Even if they only took part in that one event, IMHO they should be allowed to do so.

        1. Hahaha. Of course it’s a damn sport and if it’s run like a cartel then so are all the other highly valued sports leagues where no-one can just decide to rock up during the season and want to play.- even if they meet the performance criteria. That would be very amateur.

          1. The difference between F1 and all the other leagues I am away of is that there is an open route into most. You can start in a lower league, prove yourself, and work your way up into it.

            F1 doesn’t have that. In fact, they have no permanent route into the sport. Occasionally, the FIA will open up a tender process for new teams, but there is no requirement for them to do so and the process is opaque.

            To be honest, I’ve often thought that this is why new teams fail. There is a path into F1 for drivers, but teams have nothing. There is no other sport like F1, from a team perspective. The technical competition alone is unlike any other. Maybe we should be looking at a league-like system which allows new entrants to come in at the bottom and work their way up through a demonstration of skill.

            By the way, I want being 100% serious about just showing people to rock up and participate. It’s something I’d like to see, but I don’t expect it to happen.

    3. The limitation should be the number of pit garages of a track. There could be more entries at one GP and less at another. I don’t see a problem with that either. It is the way in most racing series.

      The entry criteria is there: 200M. + IIRC they get no money wherever they finish in their 1st season. The 107% rule is also there. They could tweak it. They could lower it. They could decide who takes part in quali before quali, based on FP. Then, the most watched part remains competitive.

      What if some of them are not that competitive? The SC rules should already have been altered. SC periods are way too long. The ‘lapped cars may overtake’ rule should be tweaked to make it a much faster process.

      1. You don’t need a garage to run a car, just a nice big awning.

      2. 10000% agree

  3. Stefano is perfectly aware of what Mr Andretti and his investors are trying to pull off and has 10 signatures worth of encouragement to get this right.

    1. 8 signatures.
      McLaren and Renault support Andretti’s bid to enter.

      1. And probably Mercedes because when Andretti brought in Cadillac, Toto said it’s a massive statement by bringing in a manufacturer. Maybe, just maybe… Mercedes is reconsidering its stand. It’s also a possibility that Mercedes engine customers will go with what Mercedes decides giving in 3 more potential signatures

        1. I highly doubt that Mercedes supports this in any way. Quite the opposite, I expect.
          But that won’t stop Toto trying to look good in the media.

          If they actually do support it, all they need to do is say so without dancing around the subject.

          1. You do know its not just Toto he need to convince, right?

          2. Yes, absolutely.
            But Toto was the subject of the comment I replied to.

  4. F1 seems to be handling new applications with all the transparency of a FIFA World Cup bid – there are published criteria, but when someone applies based on those criteria it doesn’t seem to work out quite the way everyone expected.

    1. there are published criteria

      I don’t think the criteria outlined in the current set of commercial agreements are fully public, much less published by Formula 1.

  5. Domenicali speaking exactly like the No.1 shareholder – but not at all like the boss of a racing series.
    The existing teams should be the only ones resisting new team entries – not the series itself. And not even all of the teams are against it.

    1. Come on, domenicali is on exactly the same page as the teams who do not as yet support the andetti/gm entry.

      1. Yeah. That’s the problem. The mob running the show shouldn’t be taking any sides but their own.
        It makes absolutely no difference to FOM to have 10, 11 or 12 teams.
        What Domenicali is doing is siding with the teams so that he can get them to do what he wants. It’s a mutual partnership, where both win via the exclusion of everyone else.

    2. Yeah, I also take this as a CEO not liking competative pressure. Had F1 embraced his bid earlier and worked with Andretti to find a way to make it happen, there would have not been any need for the PR push.

  6. If it’s really about admitting a new entry only “if they bring value” then it should be a no-brainer for Andretti to take Alpha Tauri’s spot. Andretti certainly brings more value than the second team of a fizzy drink company which is branded as a fashion brand nobody knows or cares about.

  7. The Andretti group didn’t start becoming vocal until their attempts to buy into an existing team were rebuffed, vocally, by the F1 establishment.

  8. Domenicali insisted “F1 will never put a gag on anyone”

    I guess that only relates to The People’s Grand Prix Drivers’ Liberation Army and The F1 & Teams Revolutionary Guard.

    1. Has F1 become a communism…?
      It’s certainly looking a like it, isn’t it.

      1. Much more like a cartel than communism.

  9. Let them in. Andretti are a established and respected racing organisation.

    I knew in 2020 when this team franchise model and the anti dilution fee was introduced, it was a bad idea.
    The fact that Wolff is the main voice against Andretti makes it even more annoying. The guy needs taking down a peg or two, he bought his way into Williams and then parachuted in to Mercedes and copied Ross Brawn’s homework.

    I obviously know people are going to jump on this and say he’s a massively successful team principal. What I’ll say is, he has been at the helm of a team that started out with a massive technical advantage in 2014, and he’s ridden that wave all the way home. Engine development, the source of the huge advantage they started with, was well and truly on its path to greatness in early 2013 when he bought into Mercedes. Wolff is an investor, who is now dictating who can and cannot join Formula One.


  10. Michael Andretti has always looked down on Europeans. This article ( from Sports Illustrated 30 years ago shows that.

    “You have to be a little more arrogant the way you do things here,” Andretti says. “If you’re a nice guy, they eat you alive. They lose respect for you. You can’t wait for things to come to you, because they don’t.”

    The man has a lot of growing up to do. He’s been a spoiled brat all his life.

  11. I said this would happen when Liberty started talking about wanting to turn teams into franchises.

    Liberty don’t care about the sport or its history and heritage. It’s a business they brought to make as much money as possible and just like CVC they will drop it as soon as they believe they can’t get anymore value from it.

    I doubt liberty even know there used to be more teams, i doubt they know that independent teams were once a thing and they have likely never heard of private engine suppliers.

    And Stefano, Ross and co.. will just go along with whatever there employers tell them to push.

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