F1 rejects Andretti’s bid to join the grid as the 11th team

F1 rejects Andretti's bid to join the grid as the 11th team

F1 has issued a statement rejecting the application for a new Andretti Global entry sponsored by General Motors despite the FIA’s earlier approval.

Andretti’s bid for a spot on the Formula 1 grid in the upcoming seasons have been ruthlessly turned down by the sport, which has provided a comprehensive evaluation explaining the reasons behind its decision to reject the entry of an 11th team.

The Andretti entry, which is overseen by former Formula 1 driver Michael Andretti, son of 1978 World Champion Mario, was the most viable F1 entry application after the FIA invited potential outfits to tender for the championship last year. However, their application has now been rejected despite getting through FIA’s initial stages.

Andretti still had to overcome one major hurdle, which was getting F1’s approval. This has continuously appeared to be an uphill battle since the teams that were already in place and the owner of the commercial rights to F1 had made it apparent that they had no desire to expand the grid.

From the moment Liberty Media took over F1 ahead of the 2017 season, the focus of the sport has been on the prospect of a new team proving how it would bring enough value to justify diluting the prize money and upending the 10-team system.

After doing a thorough company assessment, F1 believes Andretti is not worthy of being allowed to join the sport because it has not demonstrated that it would be competitive or contribute enough value to outweigh any potential risks.

“Our assessment process has established that the presence of an 11th team would not, in and of itself, provide value to the Championship,” read the F1 statement.

“Any 11th team should show that its participation and involvement would bring a benefit to the championship. The most significant way in which a new entrant would bring value is by being competitive, in particular by competing for podiums and race wins.

“This would materially increase fan engagement and would also increase the value of the championship in the eyes of key stakeholders and sources of revenue such as broadcasters and race promoters.

F1 also feels that Andretti’s case would have been stronger had GM been the engine supplier from the beginning and notes that trying to enter as a new constructor in 2025 then build an entirely new car for brand-new rules in 2026 would have been a significant challenge to overcome.

Despite the fact that Haas joined the grid in 2016 ahead of the major aero rule changes in 2017, it claims there is “no basis” for admission in these circumstances.

“The Application contemplates an association with General Motors (GM) that does not initially include a PU supply, with an ambition for a full partnership with GM as a PU supplier in due course, but this will not be the case for some years.

“Having a GM PU supply attached to the Application at the outset would have enhanced its credibility, though a novice constructor in partnership with a new entrant PU supplier would also have a significant challenge to overcome. Most of the attempts to establish a new constructor in the last several decades have not been successful.”

According to F1, Andretti was invited to present their application in person, but this was not taken up after an initial information exchange and follow-up inquiries were finished in October.

“Having had the opportunity to consider the Applicant’s responses together with our own deliberations, we subsequently wrote to the Applicant on 12 December 2023 extending an invitation to an in-person meeting at our offices in order for the Applicant to present its application, but the Applicant did not take us up on this offer,” continued the statement.

“While the Andretti name carries some recognition for F1 fans, our research indicates that F1 would bring value to the Andretti brand rather than the other way around.

“The addition of an 11th team would place an operational burden on race promoters, would subject some of them to significant costs, and would reduce the technical, operational and commercial spaces of the other competitors.

“We were not able to identify any material expected positive effect on CRH financial results, as a key indicator of the pure commercial value of the Championship.

“On the basis of the application as it stands, we do not believe that the Applicant has shown that it would add value to the Championship. We conclude that the Applicant’s application to participate in the Championship should not be successful.”

Andretti’s situation is unclear as it holds FIA approval but no commercial arrangement with F1. In the hopes of saving the entry, Andretti may attempt to contest F1’s decision in court or attempt to settle it privately; if not, it will have to discontinue its plans and preparations.

This issue could prove to be a major setback to the organization given that the organization has made significant investments in hiring workers and developing a 60% model car that complies with current regulations in a windtunnel.

The door may not be fully closed, however, as Andretti just revealed last week that they are still moving at full speed to get ready for a possible F1 debut within the next year or two.

According to F1, there may be another perspective on the possibility of GM supporting a factory team or a customer team entering the 2028 championship, especially when it comes to the introduction of a new OEM to the sport.

Lastly, even though a number of the current F1 teams made it clear that they were not pleased by Andretti joining the sport, F1 claimed that they had not consulted with any of the teams in order to evaluate Andretti’s application.

Given that FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem initiated the application process in early 2023 and has made multiple public statements praising the project’s benefits, the news that F1 is basically rejecting Andretti on revenue grounds is unlikely to improve current tensions between the two organizations.

This will also be highly controversial among fans, as many have expressed disapproval of F1’s closed shop approach in its alleged franchise system.

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