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Formula 1 racing denies Andretti team's bid to join by 2026 but will reconsider for 2028

After conducting an analysis involving key stakeholders, F1 determined that the addition of an 11th team "would not, on its own, add value.”

Racing legend Mario Andretti (left) and driver Jaime Camara check the weather before an Indy Pro Series event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Racing legend Mario Andretti (left) and driver Jaime Camara check the weather before an Indy Pro Series event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway | Shutterstock

February 6, 2024 6:36am

Updated: February 6, 2024 6:36am

Formula 1 racing turned down the American Andretti team's bid to enter the sport for 2026, but it has said admission is possible in 2028.

The team’s entry was approved by the FIA governing body, but F1 commercial rights holders opposed a 2025 entry.

Their decision came after stakeholders concluded that an 11th team “would not on its own add value” and that the American Andretti team would not be competitive enough.

They proposed a possible future shift in their position should General Motors, the team’s potential partner, manufactured its own engine. The Detroit based manufacturer is supporting Andretti through its luxury Cadillac brand and has said it is aiming to develop its ow F1 engine by 2028.

“In this scenario, additional factors would be taken into consideration regarding the value the applicant would bring to the championship, especially in terms of introducing a prestigious new car manufacturer to the sport as an engine supplier," F1 stated.

F1 said that before that milestone is reached, requiring a new team to take a compulsory power-unit supply, potentially spanning multiple seasons, could be detrimental to the prestige of the championship.

It also rejected the argument that the Andretti name, linked to both 1978 F1 champion Mario and Michael, an IndyCar legend and former F1 driver, was a compelling reason for their inclusion.

“While the Andretti name holds recognition among F1 fans, our research suggests that F1 would contribute value to the Andretti brand rather than the other way around,” they said.

Michael Andretti, a highly accomplished IndyCar driver, had a stint in F1 with McLaren during most of the 1993 season. His racing team is widely engaged in various motorsport disciplines around the globe, including IndyCar, endurance racing, touring cars, as well as the electric Formula E and Extreme E championships.

Mario Andretti, another motorsport legend, competed in F1 from 1968 to 1982, securing 12 Grand Prix victories along with a world title. His success extended to IndyCar and other racing adventures.

In a statement, Andretti Cadillac said it wasn’t going to let the temporary setback stop them.

“Andretti and Cadillac are both accomplished global motorsport organizations dedicated to establishing an authentic American works team in F1, competing alongside the world's best,” the organization said.

“We are proud of the significant progress we have already made on developing a highly competitive car and power unit with an experienced team behind it, and our work continues at pace.

The group also said it wanted to “acknowledge and thank fans who have expressed their support.”

While some Andretti fans were looking forward to a comeback from the legendary racer, F1 said there were other factors including the “operational burden on race promoters” and the costs it could impose on others.

It also added it was “unable to identify any significant anticipated positive impact on CRH financial results, a crucial indicator of the pure commercial value of the championship.”

F1's primary conclusion focused on engine supply, according to a Feb. 1 report published by the BBC. The racing organization’s decision hinged on the notion that being obligated to use an engine from an existing manufacturer for a limited time, while having strong ties to a company poised to become a competitor, posed a significant compromise on the team's potential competitiveness.

This situation, the British news organization reported, differs from a typical customer engine supply, like that of Mercedes with McLaren, due to potential risks to intellectual property and the restrictions F1 believes it would impose on collaboration.

With the exception of Alpine and McLaren, the majority of teams firmly stated their disapproval of Andretti's entry for 2025 or 2026, citing concerns that it would diminish their earnings from prize money.

Formula One denies that the teams were formally consulted for their decision to reject Andretti's entry.

The existing rules mandate that new entrants must pay an anti-dilution fee of $200 million (which Andretti was willing to pay) to compensate the current teams. However, they deemed this amount insufficient, considering the current valuation of F1 teams, which is approximately $1 billion.

The Andretti’s have conveyed a sense of battling against the longstanding 'European leadership' that has held sway over F1 for decades.

While F1 maintains that the Andretti brand alone is insufficient, it's challenging to dispute those entities like HAAS, VISA, CASHAPP, or STAKE bring more to the racing sport than the highly accomplished American Andretti Racing team.

If the Andretti’s aim to enter Formula One, they would need to wait and potentially increase their financial offer or explore the possibility of acquiring an existing F1 team.

Formula One denies that the teams were formally consulted for their decision to reject Andretti's entry.