FEBRUARY 3, 2024

Andretti rebuff shuts f1 door

The reasons given by Formula 1 to deny Andretti Global an entry to the World Championship can be seeon as a way to completely shut the door on any prospective Grand Prix team project.

Start, Brazilian GP 2023
© Red Bull

The way the long statement from the Commercial Rights Holder is phrased, makes it completely clear that it won’t be accepting any new entries any time soon, protecting the value and the income of the ten existing teams, regardless of their respective competitiveness, but effectively acting as the leader of a cartel – and that’s something that may well end being Andretti Global’s take on a possible legal action against this decision.

Formula 1 states that, “our assessment process has established that the presence of an 11th team would not, on its own, provide value to the Championship. 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.”

Clearly, just being a new team – with or without pedrigree, with or without a manufacturer’s support – shouldn’t be enough to earn you a Formula 1 entry, but to demand any prospective new team to be competitive from its first race is unrealistic and a demand that is downright desingenuous.

Even the mighty Toyota only became competitive in it’s fourth season, and BAR, with the biggest budget in the history of the sport back then, scored no points in its first season but then continued on to become the team that is now Mercedes.

Therefore, there’s no record in modern Formula 1 history of a team that started from zero and was immediately competitive. The last one was probably March in 1970, but that’s ancient history for the sport.

Then Formula 1 argues that, “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.” Now, either Alpine has done a complete U-turn in its intention to supply Power Units to Andretti for the next three years and hasn’t told anyone else, or this is a completely false statement.

Then comes the sentence that can only be aimed at humiliating Mario and Michael Andretti: “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.” On top of being a completely false statement, for Andretti is a household name in the USA and Mario one of the biggest living legends of the sport, it begs the question what recognition names like Stake F1 Team and Visa Cash App RB get and what value to they bring to the sport?

Then, another desingenuous point: “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.” Now, this means there’s no room for more teams because circuits are not going to magically grow – they’re physically limited – but doesn’t stack up with the reality of a large number of permanent circuits that have enough garages and paddock space to take more teams.

Formula 1 then states that, “we were not able to identify any material expected positive effect on CRH financial results, as a key indicator of the pure commercial value of the Championship”, but it seems clear that you cannot find something if you’re not looking for it…

And then came the conclusion that seemed to have been taken before any “research” was done, that, we do not believe that the Applicant has shown that it would add value to the Championship. We conclude that the Applicant’s application to participate in the Championship should not be successful.”

Apply all these reasons to any potential entry and everyone will have their bids denied. The mention that “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” ignores the distinct possibility that in the new Concorde Agreement, that comes into effect in 2026 and is currently being finalized by Formula 1 and the teams, all pushing against the FIA’s wish of getting bigger slice of the cut, there will be stated that the sport is limited to ten teams only, officially shutting the door on all new entries.

Formula 1 couldn’t have been any more clear that the sport is now a private club for the ten current teams and the only way to get in is buying one of them. Period.