FIA set to approve Andretti’s F1 2025 entry bid, but faces resistance from teams and stakeholders

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The FIA looks set to give continuity to the process of accepting new teams into Formula 1, approving bids from Andretti Global and Hitech GP, but will have to deal with stern resistance from F1’s management and most of the current teams.

Photo Credit: Cadillac/General Motors

After a lengthy review process that is set to come to an end at the end of the July, the governing body is rumoured to have given the ‘green light’ to continue the process for two applicants, Andretti Global – with its General Motors and Cadillac links – and Hitech GP, which was formerly part-owned by Russian oligarch and father of ex-F1 driver Nikita Mazepin, Dmitry Mazepin.

According to German publication Auto Motor und Sport, despite the approval from the FIA, there are several factors playing against the two potential entries to actually enter the sport. Firstly, most of the current teams are heavily against any new competition on the grid, as that would mean a severe dilution in prize money, despite the current Concorde Agreement specifying that any new teams have to pay a $200 million anti-dilution fee – with rivals believing the current value of the fee should be in excess of $600 million to account for the huge growth of the sport in recent seasons.

Some high-profile team principals have been very vocal against the new entrants at press conferences throughout the season so far, with complaints varying from the lack of added value to the sport, to safety concerns due to more than 20 cars on the same grid, to saying that nationality is “not enough” to join the championship. However, FIA’s president Mohammed Ben Sulayem seems to be on a mission to field new teams on the grid, and this could cause a power struggle between the governing body and the F1 group.

It is believed that of the current participants, only Alpine is in favour of new entries, given the potential to supply engines and spec parts and benefit from partnerships similar to the one between Ferrari and Haas.

Speaking to MotorLAT in 2022 after announcing their intention to enter the sport, F1 and IndyCar legend Mario Andretti responded to comments from Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, who questioned how much value Andretti would bring the sport, mentioning how the buy-in manufacturer is more welcome than a new team:

“We hear resistance with ‘okay, manufacturers [are] coming in’ – manufacturers are always welcome, no question. Why wouldn’t they be? Toto mentions Audi and [he says] we’d rather have Audi as the eleventh team. In my opinion, Audi would be welcome anywhere, no question. But I don’t see Audi being a start-up team. I see Audi actually merging with a top team as an engine supplier,” he said.

“I’ll tell you why. You can better justify the investment because as an engine supplier with any team – you win races, the engine wins – when you don’t win races, it’s the team’s fault. It’s always like that and that’s the way it is. It’s fine.”

But the 83-year-old emphasized that usually manufacturers “come and go”, and stated that this would not be the case at Andretti, with it being an established race team and not a big manufacturer looking for profit-only causes that doesn’t “depend” on the sport:

“We’re one of the teams that would be open for another manufacturer. We’re working already with the present manufacturers to make some decisions; that’s the way it works.

“You absolutely welcome manufacturers but the manufacturers come and go. We don’t come and go – we come and stay. Manufacturers don’t depend on the sport – we do. It’s our life. That’s all we do. We breathe this. Why deprive us from it? We’re serious about it.”

At the time, Andretti claimed some of the comments aimed at his team were “offensive” and that he didn’t understand the root cause, asking for more objective and clear reasonings as to why the team wouldn’t be received with good eyes in the F1 paddock:

“I just don’t understand some of the objections that we’re hearing from the other teams. You hear some of the comments like that we’re not credible and all that sort of thing – that hurts. It’s very offensive – we’ve been around much longer than the people that have been talking to us.

“Some of the ones that don’t want us, I don’t know why. Give us specific reasons and maybe we’ll see if we can fix it. Tell us exactly where the objection is and maybe we can shed some light on something like that.”

With the process for new applicants set to be continued into its next stage, this is set to be a continuing battle between the FIA and the F1 group with Liberty Media and the 10 existing teams.