Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali maintains that the sport does not require any new teams, which calls into question Michael Andretti’s efforts to secure a Formula 1 entry.
Andretti, who was unsuccessful in his quest to acquire the Sauber company, has expressed his frustration at what he perceives to be a lack of movement in his attempt to enter the series with a new team.
Domenicali said he is content with the present number of 10 participants and that a newcomer is not necessary to improve the sport. He also emphasized that in addition to Andretti, other parties have expressed interest in competing but have so far maintained a low profile.
There is an ongoing evaluation process for the potential entries, but neither its status nor the timetable for a decision, which will be made by the FIA under the leadership of its president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, have been made public.
“I think today in the actual status of F1, it’s not a problem of quantity, where we can see a step of increasing the value of F1,” Domenicali replied when asked about Andretti’s bid to enter Formula 1. “It is a matter of understanding really, not only the ones that have a bigger or louder voice but there will be other people because Andretti was quite vocal about his request.”
“There are others that have done the same, in a different way. So the evaluation is not only with Andretti, the evaluation is with others that are respecting the silence on trying to be more productive on proving who they are, and respecting the protocol we have put in place.”
“As I always said I don’t believe that it is today the problem of having more teams that will give more value to the championship, but there is a protocol that has to be fulfilled.”
“And everyone, Andretti included, is following that. So this is the situation today. I don’t see any changes. And I don’t want to say yes or no.”
When questioned about Andretti’s ambitions in Hungary Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he would be more in favor of a new manufacturer entering a works team since it would bring more to the sport than just the Andretti name.
Mario Andretti, the father of Michael Andretti, subsequently asserted on social media that Wolff had an excessive amount of influence in F1. When questioned about the remarks made by the senior Andretti, Domenicali supported Wolff.
“Well, I do believe that Toto has a position as team principal… he’s a 30% shareholder of Mercedes, he has a reputation of winning eight in a row,” Domenicali said. “So I mean his credibility, there’s nothing to add.”
“Mario, I know him very, very well, since a long time… He’s trying to present his idea in a way that he thought is the right way to do, but I do believe that, as you know, there is a governance in place.”
“And the decision has to follow the protocol that is in place and Mario is very vocal, Michael, too… and I spoke with them quite often, as you can imagine… and we need to respect that.”
“We may have different opinions, at the end of the day it’s a matter of following the protocol and there is someone that is to make the final decision.”
“As I said, today I don’t see a weakness in the number of teams in F1. That’s my opinion.”
Domenicali also responded to the idea that a manufacturer could field a fresh team in Formula One.
“Today we are talking about the new regulations, 2026… and all the manufacturers involved in that, the incumbent or maybe the new ones we will see, are saying that the time is running very quickly, four years to do another power unit.”
“We need to be prudent because when we’re talking about F1, we need to have an entity or a team or a manufacturer that is really solid, is really strong and has a full commitment for an incredible long-term future.”
“So this what I really can add on what is the status of the art, but as I said today, I don’t see honestly the need of that increase, to have a big benefit for the sport of F1.”
Considering that manufacturers have a history of coming and disappearing, Domenicali also downplayed the idea that the entry limit should be increased from 10 to safeguard the sport from the probable loss of teams in the future. Instead, he argued that the insiders would benefit from outside interest, which would raise their value.
“I think that today that is not a problem, we have the other way around,” Domenicali added. “We have the same situation of the Grands Prix more people who want to enter, by far, than people that want to leave.”
“Because there is the interest of a lot of manufacturers, but also a lot of teams, the actual ones can discuss and commercialise and negotiate with them, if they feel they’re weak, or if they feel there’s no future for them.”
“So I think it’s also another value for the ones that are here, knowing that around them there are manufacturers or other teams that want to be in the business.”
“So it’s a fact that will, in my opinion, of course reinforce the value of F1.”