F1 rules out 2025 or 2026 for the American Andretti outfit but keeps door ajar for the 2028 season; Andretti Cadillac “strongly disagrees” with the decision; F1 says “presence of an 11th team would not, on its own, provide value to the Championship”
Craig Slater explains why Formula One has rejected Andretti’s attempts to become the 11th team in 2025 or 2026
Formula 1 has rejected Andretti’s bid to join the grid as an 11th team in the 2025 or 2026 seasons.
But the door remains ajar to a potential entry in 2028 for the American team.
Andretti’s bid, which has been headed up by former McLaren driver Michael Andretti and his father Mario, the 1978 world champion, had been passed to F1 for commercial considerations after its application had passed the first two stages of the application process, which were run by the FIA, the sport’s governing body, in October.
- F1 contracts: The 14 drivers entering final year of deals
- F1 2024 car launches: When are the new challengers revealed?
- Stream every F1 race and more with NOW | Get Sky Sports
But Formula One Management, as the sport’s commercial rights holder, had the final say and, after several months of detailed analysis into the submission, has announced that Andretti’s application has not passed the final test for entry, at least for now.
In a lengthy statement explaining the steps it took to review Andretti’s case and the reasons for its conclusion on the matter, F1 said: “Our assessment process has established that the presence of an 11th team would not, on its own, provide value to the Championship.
“The most significant way in which a new entrant would bring value is by being competitive. We do not believe that the applicant would be a competitive participant.
“The need for any new team to take a compulsory power unit supply, potentially over a period of several seasons, would be damaging to the prestige and standing of the Championship.”
Andretti have since released a statement strongly disagreeing with the conclusions reached by Formula 1.
The statement said: “Andretti Cadillac has reviewed the information Formula One Management Limited has shared and strongly disagree with its contents.
“Andretti and Cadillac are two successful global motorsports organizations committed to placing a genuine American works team in F1, competing alongside the world’s best.
“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.
“Andretti Cadillac would also like to acknowledge and thank the fans who have expressed their support.”
The door to entry has, however, been left open for 2028 by F1 on the proviso that General Motors, the American car giant whose Cadillac brand had been backing Andretti’s entry, joined the bid as a full works team or customer team.
“We would look differently on an application for the entry,” said F1 on such circumstances.
Brundle's verdict on F1's Andretti decision
Sky Sports F1’s Martin Brundle:
“As a Formula 1 fan and as a commentator, I would love there to be an 11th and indeed a 12th team on the grid.
“Not least because drivers like Verstappen, Leclerc, Norris and others have signed up for a very long time to stay in the same teams, the calendar is fairly mature these days going forward, so it would be quite exciting to see that.
“But it’s much more complex than that. This does put the FIA, the regulators, absolutely head to head with Formula One Management and Liberty Media, the financial rights holders, because the FIA said ‘yes’ and F1 said ‘no’ to what they often referred to in the document as an ‘11th team’ rather than necessarily Andretti.
“They [F1] are quite rightly saying that for Andretti as a new team, or ‘novice’ as they call them, to build a brand-new car for 2025 and, when the regulations change fundamentally for 2026, to start all over again it’s too much of a tall order and they think they won’t be competitive.
“Andretti will no doubt say ‘well, give us a chance. We are a mighty organisation with a lot of funding, we’ll show what we can do, and look at some of the other teams on the grid’.
“So this is going to run for a good while.
“There are a lot of logical reasons. There are the logistics too and getting an extra team in the pit lane and around the world for what is a 24-race calendar this year.”
What lead to F1’s decision not to grant Andretti entry for now?
Outlining the process it went through to come to its final decision, F1 said that it “took account of the broad range of ways in which value could be provided, including value to fans, the prestige and reputational value of the sport, the competitive balance of the Championship and the sustainability goals of the sport”.
“Any 11th team should show that its participation and involvement would bring a benefit to the Championship,” read F1’s statement.
“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.”
On the question of likely competitiveness, F1 said that with the sport’s regulations changing significantly in 2026, with a new rules packaged headlined by all-new engines, that “we do not believe that there is a basis for any new applicant to be admitted in 2025 given that this would involve a novice entrant building two completely different cars in its first two years of existence.
“The fact that the Applicant proposes to do so gives us reason to question their understanding of the scope of the challenge involved.”
What had the existing teams and Andretti said up to now?
Williams and Ferrari team principals James Vowles and Fred Vasseur shared their views on the addition of an 11th team to the F1 grid at the Qatar GP
A majority of F1’s existing teams had publicly opposed the expansion of the grid on commercial grounds, arguing that Andretti would not bring sufficient added value to the sport to negate the loss of income with the prize pot being split 11 ways instead of 10.
It is understood that F1’s existing 10 teams had no role to play in FOM’s deliberations on the matter.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 at last October’s US GP, Michael Andretti said: “It’s a mystery to me in some ways, why they [the teams] are pushing back.
Former racing driver Michael Andretti believed his team, Andretti Autosport, could bring more into Formula 1 as he aimed to gain entry into the sport in 2025
“They say we’re slicing the pie, but I think the point is, hopefully we bring in more than we’re taking away, and we really believe that.
“If you look at the fan support on all of the surveys that have been done, we think that we’re going to add to it, not take away.”
24 races in 2024! Watch every round of next season live on Sky Sports F1, starting with the Bahrain Grand Prix from February 29-March 2. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership
Get Sky Sports on WhatsApp!
You can now start receiving messages and alerts for the latest breaking sports news, analysis, in-depth features and videos from our dedicated WhatsApp channel!
Find out more here…