The F1 organization declined Andretti’s attempt to establish a new American team on the grid by 2026.
The US-based Andretti team’s attempt to join Formula One before 2026 has been rejected. Formula One strongly rejected the bid, but has left the possibility for a reapplication in 2028.
The group, led by ex-F1 racer Michael Andretti and his father, 1978 F1 world champion Mario, was given the go-ahead by the FIA, but was rejected by the commercial rights holder due to concerns that the team would not be able to compete or contribute to the championship.
While it was anticipated, the decision will likely spark controversy as there is significant public backing for Andretti to join as F1’s 11th team. Their proposal was made in partnership with Cadillac, which is owned by General Motors.
On Wednesday, F1 released a lengthy statement explaining the decision to reject the application. However, they also mentioned that they may consider another application for 2028, when General Motors could potentially join as the team’s power unit supplier.
Last October, following a thorough evaluation, the FIA granted approval for the Andretti team’s entry. However, obtaining approval from Formula 1 was expected to be a greater challenge.
The current 10 teams objected to the addition of an 11th team, fearing that it would decrease their portion of the sport’s earnings without significantly increasing overall revenue.
The owners of F1, Formula One Management, have consistently stated that their main concern was that the new team would not be beneficial to the sport and could potentially harm F1’s reputation if they were not competitive. They conducted a thorough evaluation and concluded that the potential risks of accepting a new team were not outweighed by the value it could add.
Their findings indicated that Andretti would likely reap the most benefits from their inclusion, rather than F1. They pointed out the financial burden on promoters in accommodating an 11th team, as well as the lack of evidence for any profit increase in the commercial aspect of the sport. Additionally, they highlighted the challenges that a new team using a customer power unit would face during a time of significant regulation changes in 2026.
The clear outcome of F1 will greatly impact the Andretti team, who has already put resources into hiring staff and developing a potential car at a reduced scale in a wind tunnel.
The F1 statement stated that after evaluating, they have determined that adding an 11th team would not add value to the championship. They believe that the biggest benefit of a new team would be their competitiveness, and they do not think that the applicant would be able to compete effectively.
Andretti responded firmly, stating their disagreement with the decision. They reviewed the information shared by Formula One Management Limited and strongly disagree with its contents. Andretti and Cadillac are both thriving international motorsports organizations with a shared goal of establishing an authentic American works team in F1, competing against the top teams in the world. They take pride in the significant strides they have already made in designing a competitive car and power unit, with a skilled team leading the way. The work continues to progress rapidly.
Andretti may still have the option to pursue legal recourse, particularly considering the rare circumstance of the FIA approving the bid but F1 rejecting it.
The FIA called for new bids to join the sport without consulting F1, causing further tension between the two organizations. The FIA president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, initiated this decision and has publicly expressed support for adding an 11th team, which is unlikely to improve their strained relationship.
Fans, particularly in the US, considered the Andretti team’s participation to be a legitimate and feasible entry. Many have voiced their disapproval towards F1 teams rejecting new competition.
Andretti’s team have enjoyed success in other series including four IndyCar championships, six wins at the Indy 500 and the 2023 drivers title in Formula E. In October last year their bid was firmly backed by Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
According to Hamilton, this presents a chance for additional employment and creates two new positions for a possible female driver. This expands the range of opportunities and adds a thrilling element to the sport.
The connection between Cadillac and General Motors was seen as a significant factor in sales, as well as the reputation the Andretti family has in the world of motorsports. However, Formula 1 was uncertain if this would have a positive impact on the sport.
According to our research, the Andretti brand would benefit from being associated with F1, rather than F1 benefiting from the recognition of the Andretti name among fans.