A pre-contract arrangement to provide customer engines to Andretti’s future F1 team has now expired, according to Alpine.
The FIA has already granted Andretti Global approval to get on the grid as they attempt to launch a new Formula 1 team in partnership with General Motors through its Cadillac brand.
Andretti Global aspires to join the grid as the 11th team. It was the only applicant to make it through the governing body’s process to rule out questionable applications, and it was granted FIA authorisation to do so.
However, the American team’s entry in Formula 1 is still far from certain. There is still strong opposition towards a new team joining the sport, and F1 itself must still approve any new entry.
Alpine was anticipated to be one of Andretti’s main partners among the current teams. This is so that engine manufacturer Renault could supply the 11th team with power units under the terms of a pre-contract that had been struck by the two teams.
According to a report by Auto Motor und Sport, the preliminary agreement for Renault to supply Andretti with power units expired in March 2023 and Alpine is not demonstrating much interest in picking up the conversation.
However, that agreement is no longer relevant. There was a time limit on that arrangement, which has since passed, Alpine’s interim team principal Bruno Famin told Motorsport.com.
“We had a pre-contract with Andretti, which has expired because they were supposed to be granted an F1 entry before a given date,” Famin said. “It was concluded on the basis that Andretti would get his license earlier.
“We will not resume discussions until the review process has been completed with a positive result.
“It means right now, if we want to do something with Andretti, we need to negotiate a full contract, a formal contract. So right now, we have absolutely no contract with Andretti.”
The development is disappointing for Andretti considering their partner Cadillac is not anticipated to be able to establish its own engine operation until at least 2027.
There is still the likelihood that Andretti and Alpine might reach an agreement on a new engine deal, as Famin proposed. Additionally, Renault may have an advantage over other engine suppliers who could be eager to win over a new client given the two sides’ prior productive communication.
However, the Frenchman made it clear that talks will not pick up again until it is certain that F1 will permit Andretti to join the grid.
Time is another important consideration. It may be a few months before anything is announced because F1 management has made it clear that there is no hurry to make a decision regarding introducing a new team to the grid.
Famin added: “In principle, we have nothing against an eleventh team if it turns out that it increases the value of the sport.
“But it is not our job to judge that. We follow the regulations, whether it is the sporting regulations or the Concorde agreement.”
If it really does take that long, Alpine may find it challenging to put up a customer’s project for Andretti’s intended entry in 2025.
“I’m not only talking about Andretti, but we start the supply of parts for the season a very long time before,” he added. “Of course, depending on what will be the situation, there are some things we will be able to do, and some others we won’t be able to.”