FEBRUARY 2, 2024
Next step in Andretti F1 saga could be legal battle
The next stage in Andretti-Cadillac's quest to join Formula 1 could be legal action, according to two of the sport's top journalists.
F1's Liberty Media-controlled commercial rights holder, the Formula 1 Group, waited four months after the FIA approval of Andretti's bid to become the eleventh team to reject the application earlier this week.
The Mohammed Ben Sulayem-led FIA reacted:
We are engaging in dialogue to determine next steps.
The fact that the sport's governing body did not simply support Liberty Media is telling, amid a wider political dispute with F1's commercial side and the existing teams.
Andretti is now part of the simmering conflict between F1 owner Liberty Media and the FIA, Bianca Garloff, a well known F1 writer for Auto Bild, said.
Indeed, with the FIA still on its side, Andretti-Cadillac is also not simply giving up.
We are proud of the significant progress we have already made on developing a highly competitive car and power unit with an experienced team behind it, and our work continues at pace, the outfit said after being formally rejected by F1.
Two more F1 journalists think legal action could be the next step.
It was not possible for F1 to simply declare that the Andretti case was a foregone conclusion, said Jean-Michel Desnoues, writing for France's Auto Hebdo.
"But none of the arguments really hold up. They had already demonstrated to the FIA that they have the human, technical and financial abilities to form a competitive team.
"So on what basis can the commercial rights holder make that judgement? Who is more competent than the FIA technicians? Faced with the poverty of F1's arguments, Andretti sound like they still nourish some hope. A legal battle may be about to begin.
Why would they persist if they no longer believed in their chances? Desnoues added.
Roger Benoit, one of the longest-serving F1 journalists in the paddock, thinks the Andretti decision is a slap in the face of fans who would like to see more cars on the grid.
Formula 1 continues to put on its own show, he wrote in Blick. "This time with a 24 record races in 41 weeks. And nonsense like allowing team names like Visa Cash App RB and Stake F1 Team.
Anyone who wants to make their show bigger and bigger and constantly add new city circuits should at least take the fans into consideration, Benoit added.
Janne Palomaki, writing for the Finnish newspaper Iltalehti, thinks F1's rejection of Andretti-Cadillac is purely political - and financial.
The task (for Andretti) was impossible from the beginning, he said. "The teams simply didn't want more competition, because the series has finally started to generate money after the painful corona years.
"But the birth of new dynasties is now impossible under the current rules. It is possible that the saga will move to the courtrooms next.
Andretti is not simply and calmly accepting its defeat, and since it was granted the right to participate by the FIA, many others think the situation is unfair as well.