The FIA has given Andretti Global the green light to enter Formula 1, allowing them to field a team in the prestigious motorsports championship. Despite the FIA's ruling, Andretti may still not be able to have a two-car squad in F1. Andretti Global and Cadillac, their commercial partner, still have work to do to win over F1 rights holder Liberty Media and the established teams, who are adamantly opposed to increasing the grid size beyond 20 cars. However, expanding the grid does not involve a vote from the teams. Andretti spent three years fighting for FIA approval to restore one of racing's most legendary names to its former glory. Michael Andretti, son of 1978 Formula 1 champion Mario, competed in 13 races that year. Since 2021, the Andretti team has been looking for a spot on the grid. Recently, they announced a collaboration with General Motors to run as Andretti-Cadillac, providing what many of the current teams had hoped for.
F1: What did FIA Say?
FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “The FIA was very clear in establishing stringent criteria for entry from the outset of the Expressions of Interest procedure. Our objective, after rigorous due diligence during the application phase, was to only approve prospective entries which satisfied the set criteria and illustrated that they would add value to the sport."
“Andretti Formula Racing LLC was the only entity which fulfils the selection criteria that were set in all material respects. I congratulate Michael Andretti and his team on a thorough submission. I also want to thank all prospective teams for their interest and participation." he added.
F1 said in a statement, “We note the FIA’s conclusions in relation to the first and second phases of their process and will now conduct our own assessment of the merits of the remaining application.”
F1: Why are Formula 1 Teams Against Expanding the Grid?
Currently ranked third and fourth on IndyCar's all-time win list, respectively, the father and son duo are two of the most accomplished drivers in American open-wheel sport. The president of the FIA, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, has officially stated his support for the Andretti effort, which has been ongoing for years.
After Andretti requested that the grid be enlarged to enable new entrants, FIA president Ben Sulayem (who took office in late 2021) oversaw the start of an "expression of interest" process for possible new teams this year. Andretti made the move after his attempt to buy an existing team in 2021 failed.
In the first round, the FIA received seven applications. F1's governing board dove deep and charged a fee of USD 300,000 to move forward with the remaining five. There were only four applications that saw the process through to completion, and Andretti was ultimately chosen because the team owner proposed using General Motors' Cadillac brand for their engines.
Most of the current teams have spoken out against widening the grid to accommodate anyone, including a General Motors-sponsored team from the United States. This year, Formula 1 will hold three races in the United States and five in North America, capitalising on the American audience's interest in the European-dominated racing series to attract sponsors to the sport.
However, the current teams say that they have put in too much money into F1 for a new team to buy their way in. This includes prominent players Red Bull and Mercedes. The teams have complained that the expansion reduces their share of the revenue despite the fact that the anti-dilution fee for new entrants is set at USD 200 million.