Despite the FIA’s approval of the move last year, Formula One Management has officially rejected Andretti Global’s petition to become a member of the F1 paddock.
Son of 1978 F1 World Champion Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti drove for McLaren in 1993. He was the only applicant to successfully complete the FIA application process before F1 could evaluate the American team’s submission and reach a final decision. Michael Andretti first filed to enter the field in 2022.
“We subsequently wrote to the Applicant on 12 December 2023 extending an invitation to an in-person meeting at our offices in order for the Applicant to present its application, but the Applicant did not take us up on this offer,” the Formula One website states in reference to Andretti’s rejection of an offer to present their bid in person.
According to F1, they took into account a number of factors, such as fan effect, competitiveness, and commercial viability, before coming to the conclusion that, “on the basis of the application as it stands, we do not believe that the Applicant has shown that it would add value to the Championship.”
The statement went on to add that an 11th contender would “reduce the technical, operational, and commercial spaces of the other competitors, and place an operational burden on race promoters, subjecting some of them to significant costs.”
“The Championship would not be valuable in and of itself if an eleventh team participated. Being competitive is the main way that a new entry would provide value. We don’t think the applicant would participate in a competitive event.
According to the paper, Andretti would benefit from the partnership more than F1 would: “Our research indicates that F1 would bring value to the Andretti brand rather than the other way around, even though the Andretti name carries some recognition for F1 fans.”
The FIA-sanctioned Formula E and Extreme E series, as well as the IndyCar and IMSA SportsCar Championship, are now operated by teams sponsored by the well-known Andretti brand in motorsport.
After a few years, General Motors, one of the biggest automakers in America, would have supplied the Power Unit that the Andretti entry had first sought to find. Cadillac is a brand owned by General Motors that supports the Andretti bid.
“It would have been more credible if the Application had been associated with a GM PU supplier from the beginning, but a novice constructor working with a new PU supplier would also face significant obstacles.”
Not allowing a new team to join for that season does make some sense, considering 2025 is the last year of the present regulations before a major change of cars and power units is planned: Given that this would require a new entrant to construct two entirely distinct cars in its first two years of existence, we do not think there is a foundation for any new applicant to be accepted in 2025.
But Andretti was also turned down for 2026. The reasons given were 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” and “Formula 1, as the pinnacle of world motorsport, represents a unique technical challenge to constructors of a nature that the Applicant has not faced in any other formula or discipline in which it has previously competed, and it proposes to do so with a dependency on a compulsory PU supply in the initial years of its participation.”
“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,” Formula One Management concludes, implying that while Andretti may not be wanted on the grid, they are interested in a relationship with General Motors.
“In this instance, there would be more considerations to take into account regarding the value that the applicant would contribute to the Championship, specifically regarding the introduction of a prominent new OEM as a PU supplier to the sport.”
According to F1, the assessment was conducted without consulting any of the current teams.