Andretti closes in on FIA entry approval as F1 teams remain wary

An entry process opened by the FIA has been under way for several months, with Andretti the highest profile of the candidates that applied to join the grid in 2025 or 2026.

Paddock sources have suggested that the American team’s bid is close to passing the first step, with confirmation of approval from the FIA expected as early as next week.

If that happens, the matter then goes to F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali as the commercial rights holder for further debate, a process that is expected to take several months.

Current teams have consistently expressed their opposition to a new entry due to the potential impact on their business models.

Under the terms of the current Concorde Agreement, negotiated during the COVID-hit 2020 season, any new entrant has to pay a $200m dilution fee.

Each existing team would receive $20m which is supposed to represent any prize money losses generated by the addition of an extra team.

However, the $200m figure was informally influenced by the previous cost of buying a team – and specifically Williams, which was sold at the time.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23 leads at the start

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23 leads at the start

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

In the years since, values of teams have rocketed and the incumbents believe that a share of $200m is not enough compensation.

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“I think why F1 and the teams have survived in the last years is because we all stuck together,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff when asked by Autosport about the Andretti entry getting closer to becoming a reality.

“The FIA, FOM and the 10 teams, we need to protect the sport. We’re holding this sensitive sport that’s growing at the moment in our hands.

“And that’s why the right decisions need to be taken all of us together, when it comes to, let’s say, a mindset and then obviously the FIA and F1 when it comes to these decisions, because it’s out of the teams’ hands.

“But I would hope that [FIA president] Mohammed Ben Sulayem, and Stefano will take the right decisions for F1.”

McLaren’s Zak Brown made it clear that he thinks that the compensation figures should be a matter for debate.

“I think our view’s unchanged,” said the American. “And we’re just going to kind of wait and see how the process plays out.

“I think the one thing I would say is the value of a F1 team and an entry from what it was five years ago. The sport is worth substantially more, so I think that that element needs to be discussed.”

Like Wolff, Haas’s Guenther Steiner said he trusted F1 to make the correct calls.

“I’m sure Stefano knows how to deal with this in our best interest,” said the Italian.

“We put our faith in FOM to deal with it, and as Zak said teams are worth now a lot more than we were when we were deciding the Concorde Agreement in 2020, where some teams were struggling to stay in business, and were worth basically nothing. The market has changed.”

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Alfa team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi also highlighted the financial aspect.

“We think that any new team must bring an added value to the entire F1 community,” he said.

“And so it needs to be a solid project, not just for a five-year period, but it must be a really long-term project with a strong foundation, and of course, any new entry needs to recognise the value and all the investments that have been done by the current teams.

“And as Zak and Toto mention, the worth of the current teams has grown significantly in the past few years. We need to protect our business, but we rely on the FIA and FOM to take the right decision.

“We will be ready to welcome any new teams that have this kind of characteristic. But we need first to also understand what is the best for the entire F1 community, with a long-term perspective.”

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