PARIS — Formula One took a step closer to expanding the grid when governing body the FIA launched its application process for prospective new F1 teams on Thursday.
That could favor Andretti Global, for which Michael Andretti is partnering with General Motors’ Cadillac brand. The American alliance has been lobbying the FIA to join F1 but faces opposition from current teams worried that an 11th team would dilute their income.
The FIA said Thursday there was a “high level of interest from a number of potential candidates” but didn’t name any. Prospective candidates will be asked about their environmental credentials and how they would make a “positive societal impact” by joining F1.
“The growth and appeal of the FIA Formula One world championship is at unprecedented levels,” FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said in a statement.
“The FIA believes the conditions are right for interested parties, which meet the selection criteria, to express a formal interest in entering the championship.”
FIA officially launches an application process for prospective Formula 1 teams@FIA @F1 https://t.co/ZfEKcvfEbw
— FIA (@fia) February 2, 2023
The FIA didn’t say when applications would close, when it might decide on new teams or when they could start racing, though Ben Sulayem referred to the new engine rules coming in 2026 as a factor attracting interest from potential new teams.
Ben Sulayem has been one of Andretti’s biggest supporters, taking a not-so-subtle dig at some unnamed Formula One executives with a tweet last month aimed at critics who might seek to undermine the bid to enter F1 with General Motors’ Cadillac brand.
With ambitions of expanding a racing empire that already encompasses IndyCar, Formula E, Extreme E and now IMSA, Andretti has been trying to enter Formula One for nearly two years but has been met with resistance at nearly every turn.
After an attempt to buy into Sauber collapsed in late 2021, Andretti formed a bid for his own team. His legendary father, Mario, went public on Twitter with the plan for Andretti Global a year ago because of frustration with the response from Formula One Management.
Michael Andretti lobbied the paddock during the inaugural Miami Grand Prix last May and then announced plans to build a 525,000-square-foot shop (part of the nine-figure backing he had secured to pay the $200 million entry fee for F1). Last week, he revealed that General Motors had partnered with his organization and wanted to race F1 for the first time via its Cadillac brand.
GM is the No. 1 automaker in the United States, where F1 has boomed in popularity and will add a third race in 2023 with Las Vegas. But Thursday’s Cadillac news was met with immediate pushback by Formula One management, which released a statement noting it has several prospective team candidates and singled out Andretti for being the most public.