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Andretti clears first hurdle to join Formula One



Indianapolis, Indiana – The FIA said on Monday that American Michael Andretti satisfies all requirements to increase the top motorsports series in the world to 11 teams, which represents a significant victory in his quest to establish a Formula One team.

It’s not a given that Andretti will acquire the two-car team of his dreams despite the FIA ruling. The current teams, who fiercely oppose growing the 20-car grid, and F1 rights holder Liberty Media still require Andretti Global and partner Cadillac to demonstrate their commercial worth. On-grid expansion, however, the teams do not have a vote.

“We note the FIA’s conclusions in relation to the first and second phases of their process and will now conduct our own assessment of the merits of the remaining application,” F1 said in a statement.

In Andretti’s three-year journey to restore one of racing’s most legendary names to the top of motor racing, FIA approval was a crucial first step. Mario Andretti won the Formula One title in 1978, and his son Michael competed in 13 races in 1993.

Third and fourth on the list of IndyCar’s all-time winners, the father and son are two of the most successful drivers in American open-wheel history. Years of effort have gone into trying to bring the Andretti name back to Formula One, and they have now officially confirmed the support of FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem while also overcoming a challenge.

“The FIA is obliged to approve applications that comply with the Expressions of Interests application requirements and we have adhered to that procedure in deciding that Andretti Formula Racing LLC’s application would proceed to the next stage of the application process,” Ben Sulayem said.

“Andretti Formula Racing LLC was the only entity that fulfills the selection criteria that were set in all material respects. I congratulate Michael Andretti and his team on a thorough submission.”

After Andretti filed a petition to widen the grid to accommodate new entrants, Ben Sulayem, the FIA’s chief of staff who assumed leadership in late 2021, oversaw the process of initiating a “expression of interest” procedure for prospective new teams this year. Andretti’s move followed a 2021 attempt to buy an existing team that was unsuccessful.

In the initial round, the FIA received seven applications. Five advanced to the second round, which necessitated a $300,000 charge and a thorough investigation by F1’s regulatory authority. Only Andretti, whose engines would be sold under the Cadillac brand under a General Motors logo, was judged to be the only deserving applicant out of the four who finished the entire procedure.

To be recommended as a future team, the applicant had to fulfill the sporting, technical, and financial conditions set out by the FIA.

Ben Sulayem said Monday “Our objective, after rigorous due diligence during the application phase, was to only approve prospective entries which satisfied the set criteria and illustrated that they would add value to the sport.”

The majority of the current teams have openly opposed anyone’s access to the grid being expanded, including Americans who wear the General Motors logo. This year, Formula One (F1) will host three races in the US and five in North America. By leveraging the popularity of the European racing series in the US, the series is hoping to expand its sponsorship market.

However, the current teams, which include dominant forces, Red Bull and Mercedes, contend they have made too many investments in Formula One to allow anyone to enter the series through buyouts. Every new player must pay an anti-dilution fee of $200 million, but the teams contend that expansion reduces their revenue share.

They also remarked that Andretti ought to just purchase a team if he is that interested in having one.

In 2016, Gene Haas founded the sole American-owned club. According to Andretti, his team will genuinely be an American squad with an American driver, support from General Motors, and an American sponsor.

The Andretti name and General Motors provide too much to the series to be categorically dismissed for future teams, according to Ben Sulayem, who has funded the Andretti endeavor. It also doesn’t carry a financial share in F1’s profits the way Liberty and the current teams do.

Adding more teams to the mix “also attracted further commitment from Audi, Honda, and Ford and interest from Porsche and General Motors,” according to Ben Sulayem.

The FIA invited prospective teams to submit expressions of interest for the third time. Four teams entered the series as a result of the inaugural, which took place in 2009, however, all of them later filed for bankruptcy and left the sport. That’s why the requirements to become a member of F1 and the application procedure itself are now very strict.

Haas is still competing in Formula One after securing his team in a 2014 expression of interest.