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Andretti Formula Racing Clears FIA Hurdle on Path to Join Formula 1 Grid

Image Credit: Yerlipisagor, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Andretti Formula Racing’s quest to enter the prestigious Formula 1 circuit has taken a significant step forward, as the governing body, the FIA, has officially approved their application. This development marks a crucial milestone in the team’s journey towards competing in Formula 1, subject to successful commercial negotiations with Formula One Management and the existing 10 F1 teams.

The journey for Andretti Formula Racing began at the start of 2023 when the FIA initiated a call for expressions of interest. Andretti seized this opportunity and publicly declared their intention to join Formula 1, aiming for either the 2025 or 2026 season. Notably, their bid received support from General Motors through their Cadillac division.

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After months of anticipation and speculation, the FIA confirmed the approval of Andretti Formula Racing’s application, distinguishing them as the sole team out of four applicants to advance to Phase 2. The other contenders, believed to be Hitech Grand Prix, Rodin, and LKY SUNZ, did not receive this approval during the initial Phase 1 call for interest.

Phase 2 encompassed rigorous evaluations of various aspects, including the applicant’s sporting and technical capabilities, available resources, fundraising capabilities, team experience, and human resources. The FIA’s commitment to maintaining high standards for entry into Formula 1 was evident throughout this phase.

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem emphasized the stringent criteria established for entry and the importance of prospective entries adding value to the sport. He stated, “The FIA is obliged to approve applications that comply with the Expressions of Interest application requirements,” emphasizing the organization’s adherence to EU directives on motorsport participation and development.

Andretti Formula Racing LLC emerged as the standout entity that met the selection criteria in all essential aspects. President Sulayem congratulated Michael Andretti and his team for their comprehensive submission, extending his gratitude to all prospective teams for their interest and involvement in the process.

While Andretti’s approval by the FIA was widely anticipated, Phase 3 of the process now awaits them. This phase involves engaging in commercial discussions with Formula 1, presenting a significant hurdle to overcome.

Formula 1’s CEO, Stefano Domenicali, and Liberty Media chairman, Greg Maffei, have expressed reservations about expanding the grid and emphasized the need for new applicants to demonstrate their contributions to the sport. The existing 10 teams have also expressed concerns about the potential impact on their share of Formula 1’s revenues.

The Concorde Agreement, which binds Formula 1, the FIA, and the 10 teams, allows for the grid to expand to 12 teams. However, any new entrant must pay a $200 million anti-dilution fee. This fee would be distributed among the existing teams as compensation for future prize money being divided among 11 teams instead of 10. Nevertheless, some teams argue that the $200 million figure is inadequate, given the recent surge in Formula 1’s popularity. Discussions on increasing this figure for the next Concorde Agreement are already underway, set to be implemented in 2026.

Formula 1, in response to the FIA’s approval, issued a brief statement stating that they would conduct their own assessment of Andretti Formula Racing’s application.

Notably, Formula 1 has not seen the entry of a new team since 2016, when Haas joined the grid, shortly before Liberty Media’s acquisition of the championship. Andretti Formula Racing’s potential entry marks an exciting development in the world of Formula 1 and adds to the intrigue surrounding the sport’s future.


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