Formula One

Formula One rejects Andretti's bid to join series, will reconsider when GM has engine in 2028

Andretti Global will not join Formula One in 2025 or 2026 as it intended to

Michael Andretti
Alessio Morgese/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Michael Andretti during the Formula 1 Lenovo United States Grand Prix 2023 on October 20, 2023 in Austin, Texas.

Formula One rejected Andretti Global's application to join the global racing series in 2025 or 2026 but said Wednesday it is willing to revisit the issue in 2028 when General Motors has an engine ready for competition.

F1 in its decision said it did not believe Andretti would be a competitive team, that the Andretti name does not bring the value to the series that Michael Andretti believes it would and that getting on the grid in the next two years would be a challenge Andretti has never faced before.

“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,” F1 said. "The fact that the Applicant proposes to do so gives us reason to question their understanding of the scope of the challenge involved.

“Formula 1, as the pinnacle of world motorsport, represents a unique technical challenge to constructors of a nature that the Applicant has not faced in any other formula or discipline in which it has previously competed,” F1 continued. “On this basis, we do not believe that the Applicant would be a competitive participant.”

General Motors under its Cadillac brand had signed on to partner with Michael Andretti's push to join to the top racing series in the world — a bid that has received extreme pushback from the majority of the existing 10 teams and F1 leadership.

But the process became more complicated when GM said in November it had registered with Formula One’s governing body to become an engine supplier starting in 2028. That backed F1 into a corner because it would be very difficult to turn away one of the largest automakers in the world, particularly an American company at a time the series has gained massive traction in the United States.

The United States hosted three races last season, more than any other country, and multiple American companies from American Express, Visa, Oracle, Meta and MoneyGram, have signed on as team sponsors over the last three seasons.

Michael Andretti did not immediately respond to a request for comment. His father, Mario, is the 1978 F1 world champion, and Michael ran 13 races in one single, disappointing 1993 season.

He and his father had championed their push to join F1 as creating a true American team that likely would feature California-raised IndyCar driver Colton Herta as its driver. F1 has only one American-owned team — Haas F1, which does not field cars for any American drivers — and Logan Sargeant of Williams Racing is the only American racing in the series.

Governing body FIA in July approved Andretti’s application to expand the grid by two cars for his new team, but F1 took six months to do its own review. The FIA had given F1 a Wednesday deadline to make its decision.

“Our assessment process has established that the presence of an 11th team would not, in and of itself, provide value to the Championship,” F1 said in a statement. “While the Andretti name carries some recognition for F1 fans, our research indicates that F1 would bring value to the Andretti brand rather than the other way around.”

F1 is only interested in allowing Andretti in when General Motors has an engine built for competition. Had Andretti received approval for a new team, he would have had to use another manufacturer’s engine until 2028.

“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,” F1 said. “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.”

F1 said it did not consult with the existing 10 teams in reaching its decision. But, the series said, expansion would be a stressor on many of the existing operational procedures.

“The addition of an 11th team would place an operational burden on race promoters, would subject some of them to significant costs and would reduce the technical, operational and commercial spaces of the other competitors,” F1 said.

GM already has started development and testing of prototype technology, and it said building an F1 engine will help the automaker advance in areas including electrification, hybrid technology, sustainable fuels, high efficiency internal combustion engines, advanced controls and software systems.

F1 indicated it wants GM to succeed, a process the series believes will take years.

“Coming to the sport as a new (power unit) manufacturer is also a huge challenge, with which major automotive manufacturers have struggled in the past, and one which can take a manufacturer a number of years of significant investment in order to become competitive,” F1 said. “GM has the resource and credibility to be more than capable of attempting this challenge, but success is not assured.”

F1 has set new engine regulations for 2026 that place an emphasis on sustainable fuels and greater electric power. Six manufacturers have signed with the FIA to supply engines in 2026, including newcomer Audi, which will partner with Sauber. Ford plans to return to F1 in partnership with three-time reigning champion Red Bull. Honda also plans to return as an official supplier in 2026.

When the FIA initially opened the process for teams to express interest in joining F1, Andretti was the only applicant of seven to meet all the criteria for the FIA to expand the grid from 10 teams to 11, and with a car already built, had hoped to be competing in 2025. F1 put an end to those hopes Wednesday, though the saga could now be headed to court even as F1 acknowledged it is is willing to revisit the issue.

“We would look differently on an application for the entry of a team into the 2028 Championship with a GM power unit, either as a GM works team or as a GM customer team designing all allowable components in-house,” F1 said. "In this case there would be additional factors to consider in respect of the value that the Applicant would bring to the Championship, in particular in respect of bringing a prestigious new OEM (original equipment manufacturer) to the sport as a PU supplier.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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