Ben Sulayem changes tune on Andretti F1 bid, says buy existing team

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has told Andretti Cadillac to try and buy an existing Formula 1 team rather than attempt to join the sport as a new entrant, despite initiating the process for new teams last year.

Ben Sulayem endorsed Andretti’s bid and instructed the FIA to open up the process that would allow new teams to try and join the grid, with the existing agreements stating there can be at least two more constructors’ entered into F1. Andretti’s submission was the only one approved by the FIA as meeting all of the criteria the governing body had set out for a new team, allowing it to try and reach a commercial agreement with Formula One Management (FOM).

However, FOM rejected a request to enter before 2028 – when General Motors has registered its interest to develop its own power unit – and said it would likely look more favorably on the bid once a full GM power unit was part of the Andretti Cadillac entry.


While U.S. Government officials have been lobbying for investigations into the lack of an entry so far, Ben Sulayem has now said Andretti should purchase an existing team, despite none of the 10 constructors’ openly stating they are interested in a takeover.

“I have no doubt FOM and Liberty (Media) would love to see other teams as long as they are OEMs (car manufacturers),” Ben Sulayem told Reuters. “I would advise them (Andretti Cadillac) to go and buy another team, not to come as the 11th team.

“I feel that some teams need to be refreshed. What is better? To have 11 teams as a number or 10 and they are strong? I still believe we should have more teams but not any teams. The right teams. It’s not about the number, it’s about the quality.”

Ben Sulayem also suggests some teams are unstable from a managerial perspective and should be targeted by Andretti, although aside from Red Bull – where Christian Horner has come under scrutiny for his alleged behavior towards a colleague – the three most recent teams principal changes have occurred at Alpine, RB and Haas, who all insist they are not for sale.

“Without mentioning names, there are teams which are struggling… struggling with performance, struggling even with management,” he said. “It’s about having the right team, not to lose a chance or an opportunity where someone like GM with a PU [power unit] is coming to Formula 1.

“Imagine the impact. We have three races in America. We have such a huge fan base. But we don’t have a proper (U.S.) team. I’m so happy to have Ford in but imagine having GM and imagine having American drivers.”

The next draft of the Concorde Agreement is currently being worked on that could see an increase on the current $200 million fee demanded of new entrants that would be distributed among existing teams.

“We have to have a balance. Is $200 million too low?” Ben Sulayem added. “I believe $600 (million) is something where it is right for the current market.”

Story originally appeared on Racer