FIA President Reverses Decision On Andretti, Tells Them To Buy Another Team

Image: Chris Graythen (Getty Images)
Image: Chris Graythen (Getty Images)

The ongoing saga of will-they/won’t-they between Andretti Global and Formula One is getting a bit ridiculous at this point. The sport remains adamant that it wants nothing to do with Michael Andretti or his Cadillac engines, but Andretti remains steadfastly preparing to enter the series when the new rules debut for 2026. The team keeps hiring new personnel, including former F1 Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds, building new facilities in the U.K., and investing metric shitloads of cash. Last week the team was hanging on the promise that the FIA had already granted the team entry, even if F1 hadn’t, but this week that bit of fortune met a reversal.

Previously FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem had allowed Andretti Cadillac to submit an application for an 11th spot on the Formula One grid, despite the protestations of the existing ten F1 teams. Upon reviewing that application, Formula One Management and series owners Liberty Media determined that Andretti’s entry would not “be competitive or add significant value to the series.”

Speaking to Reuters in Monaco this weekend, Ben Sulayem seems to have changed his mind on the whole Andretti-as-team-11 thing.


“I have no doubt FOM and Liberty would love to see other teams as long as they are OEMs,” he said. “I would advise them 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.”

It would seem that the teams, who don’t want to split the sport’s prize money with another entry, have influenced the FIA President to flip his answer ahead of the development of the next Concorde Agreement (the rulebook that governs how the sport will be sport’s commercial aspects will be run), which needs re-drafting ahead of a new round of signatures.

If Andretti doesn’t even have the support of the FIA anymore, perhaps buying an existing team is the only way to move forward. Maybe it’s time for Andretti to call up Red Bull and see about getting ownership of the poorly managed and misused VCARB team.

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