As motor racing’s governing body continues its evaluation of potential new entries from 2025, Ben Sulayem says he thinks the arrival of manufacturers from the world’s two largest economies would be great for F1.
Speaking to Motorsport.com’s sister site Motorsport-total.com, Ben Sulayem believed that car makers from the USA and China would deliver a huge uplift for F1’s popularity and marketing profile.
“My dream is a full United States of America team from an OEM and I would like to also see an OEM from China,” explained Ben Sulayem.
“Everybody is allowed to have a dream. But it is also achievable. You have 1.4 billion people in China, and over 50% of your vehicles on the road, electric vehicles, are Chinese. That’s facts. It is a big market.”
Ben Sulayem believes that the choice of hybrid rules for F1 from 2026, which will have a 50/50 power split between ICE and electric power, is exactly the sort of formula that could help attract the OEMs he wants to see.
“The Chinese are serious when it comes to EV and hybrid,” he said. “And I tell you something: the PU last year was the right thing to do.
“If we didn’t do it, do you really think Audi would have come and joined? That happened only after the PU was approved and all the teams signed it.
“We did it for the good of the sport. And it opened the door. Honda came, Ford joined, Porsche are deciding. I would say it is still warm with Porsche and Formula 1. All that happened for a good reason.”
Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner, Jim Farley, CEO of Ford, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
American car giant Ford has already agreed a partnership with Red Bull to work together on the team’s new engines from 2026, while GM has aligned its Cadillac brand with the Andretti squad that is hoping to become one of F1’s new entrants.
China has not yet had any major involvement from one of its manufacturers in F1.
Ben Sulayem’s desire to attract major manufacturers comes against the backdrop of current teams and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali expressing some scepticism about the benefit of adding more cars to the grid.
But Ben Sulayem thinks it is the FIA’s duty to attract as many teams as the rules allow, and he believes that F1 owner Liberty Media, and its president Greg Maffei, are on his side.
“I was happy to see the declaration from Liberty Media that they actually give the blessing for another team,” he said. “Our responsibility is to do all the due diligence, do all of the required investigations.”
Ben Sulayem’s comments are in reference to what Maffei said during an appearance on the Walker Webcast in June.
“I think in the right set of circumstances we would work to get the 11th team,” Maffei said.
“Somebody who could bring a lot of value to the sport, a lot of value to the fans, because of their position in technology, their position as an OEM, their position in marketing – some combination of all that – you could imagine coming to some kind of an agreement. But it’s not without controversy, certainly among the 10 teams.”
Maffei did point out, however, that there were complications caused by lack of garage space at some circuits, as well as commercial implications for the current squads.
“There are probably four or five garages and paddock areas that would be difficult to put in an 11th bay,” he said. “Maybe that’s solvable with money and time, but it’s not something that you snap your fingers and solve.
“The other issue is that the 10 teams are splitting the profits that go to the teams, and dividing it 11 ways is not something they’re particularly enthused about.”