Following months of analysis by the FIA over the expressions of interest to join F1 from 2025 at the earliest, the governing body has finally announced the outcome of its efforts.
In a statement issued on Monday, it said that Andretti was the only applicant that was being put forward to the third and final stage of selection, which involves F1’s commercial rights holders.
But while the FIA is happy with the Andretti bid and believes it fulfils all the criteria it has laid down, that does not mean that the squad will definitely get a place on the grid.
Andretti now needs to reach a satisfactory commercial deal with FOM, and there has long been a known resistance to the field getting expanded beyond 10 teams.
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has been consistent that any new outfit would need to bring a clear added value to the championship.
“As we always said, we need to make sure that the decision is right for the business,” he said before the summer break.
“And this is what I think is the duty of the FIA and us together, that has to be taken. So that is another decision that will be taken in the next couple of months.”
A statement from Formula 1 on Monday was non-committal about the Andretti development.
“We note the FIA’s conclusions in relation to the first and second phases of their process and will now conduct our own assessment of the merits of the remaining application,” it said.
FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem said the process to select Andretti had been very thorough, which is why it took so long for the analysis to be completed since the process opened up in February.
And amid speculation over recent weeks that any failure by Andretti to agree commercial terms and not get an entry could trigger legal action, Ben Sulayem was careful in stating that the FIA has followed strict procedures.
Michael Andretti on the grid
Photo by: Alexander Trienitz / Motorsport Images
“The FIA was very clear in establishing stringent criteria for entry from the outset of the Expressions of Interest procedure,” he said.
“Our objective, after rigorous due diligence during the application phase, was to only approve prospective entries which satisfied the set criteria and illustrated that they would add value to the sport.
“The FIA is obliged to approve applications that comply with the Expressions of Interests application requirements and we have adhered to that procedure in deciding that Andretti Formula Racing LLC’s application would proceed to the next stage of the application process.
“In taking that decision, the FIA is acting in accordance with EU directives on motor sport participation and development.
“Andretti Formula Racing LLC was the only entity which fulfils the selection criteria that was set in all material respects. I congratulate Michael Andretti and his team on a thorough submission. I also want to thank all prospective teams for their interest and participation”.
Andretti welcomed the news, saying in a statement: “Andretti Cadillac is honoured that the FIA has approved Andretti Formula Racing’s Expression of Interest for the Formula 1 world championship. We appreciate the FIA’s rigorous, transparent and complete evaluation process and are incredibly excited to be given the opportunity to compete in such a historic and prestigious championship.
“The formation of this distinctly American team is an important moment of pride for all our employees and fans. We feel strongly that Andretti Cadillac’s deep racing competencies and the technological advancements that come from racing will benefit our customers while heightening enthusiasm for F1, globally.
“We look forward to engaging with all of the stakeholders in Formula 1 as we continue our planning to join the grid as soon as possible.”
F1 teams has to prove they had the sporting, technical and financial capabilities to join the F1 grid, as well as explain plans on sustainability and positive societal impact.
Only four teams made it through to the second stage of the analysis, with Rodin Carlin, Hitech and Asian effort LKYSUNZ being informed recently that they were not being put forward to the final selection point.