The prospect of Michael Andretti’s eponymous team joining the Formula 1 grid reared its head once again in Singapore, with several team bosses still against including an 11th team.
Earlier this year the FIA opened up a formal process for prospective F1 teams to join the grand prix paddock in either 2025 or 2026.
Andretti, with a bid backed by General Motors brand Cadillac, continues to be the front-running name, with rumours spreading that the FIA may give the green light soon.
The matter will then pass into the hands of F1 CEO Stefano Domenicalli. However, the 10 current teams on the grid also get a say, and the general consensus looks negative.
“I think why F1 and the teams have survived in the last years is because we all stuck together,” said Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff.
“The FIA, FOM and the 10 teams, we need to protect the sport. We’re holding this sensitive sport that’s growing at the moment in our hands.
“And that’s why the right decisions need to be taken all of us together, when it comes to, let’s say, a mindset and then obviously the FIA and F1 when it comes to these decisions, because it’s out of the teams’ hands.
“But I would hope that [FIA president] Mohammed Ben Sulayem, and Stefano will take the right decisions for F1.”
F1 team bosses remain wary of Andretti’s F1 bid
F1 has seen rapid growth in recent years, with many of the team bosses believing as a result that the $200 million dilution fund for new teams – which was set up during 2020 – is now too small a figure, with the value of teams rising in tandem with the sport’s popularity.
This is a sentiment that McLaren CEO Zak Brown agrees with, along with Alfa Romeo Team Representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi.
“I think the one thing I would say is the value of a F1 team and an entry from what it was five years ago,” Brown said.
“The sport is worth substantially more, so I think that that element needs to be discussed.”
“We think that any new team must bring an added value to the entire F1 community,” Alunni Bravi added.
“It must be a really long-term project with a strong foundation.
“And as Zak and Toto mention, the worth of the current teams has grown significantly in the past few years.
“We need to protect our business, but we rely on the FIA and FOM to take the right decision.”
The value of teams and a reliance on protecting the best interests of the 10 teams currently on the grid was also mentioned by Haas team boss Guenther Steiner.
“I’m sure Stefano knows how to deal with this in our best interest,” Steiner acknowledged.
“We put our faith in FOM to deal with it, and as Zak said teams are worth now a lot more than we were when we were deciding the Concorde Agreement in 2020, where some teams were struggling to stay in business, and were worth basically nothing.
“The market has changed.”
Indeed, the F1 market has changed significantly in recent years and thus both sides of the argument remain valid.
It’s no surprise that the current teams on the grid are seeking to project the riches they fought hard to obtain and are reluctant to share.
Meanwhile, it is clear why new teams would see F1 as an attractive proposition in the present moment and they likely believe there is plenty of funds to go around.
Time will tell whether Andretti succeed in joining the F1 grid, but it looks like there a still plenty of hurdles ahead for this American enterprise and any other entity wishing to join F1.
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