- Door open for entry in 2028 with General Motors as power unit supplier
- FIA had previously approved Andretti’s candidature
US-based team Andretti’s hopes of joining the Formula One grid in 2025 have received a significant blow after being rejected by series organisers, but they could apply again from 2028.
It was announced in January that Cadillac, a division of American motoring giant General Motors, and Andretti – owned by former Formula One driver Michael Andretti, son of 1978 world champion Mario Andretti – had teamed up with the intention of entering the sport at a competitive level.
Following the initial call for expressions of interest, and at the end of a comprehensive application process that decided four prospective teams could proceed, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) concluded Andretti were the only candidates to meet the stringent criteria.
Andretti Formula Racing LLC’s submission was passed on to Formula One Management (FOM) for commercial discussions as part of the next stage of the process.
However, in a lengthy statement released on 31st January, Formula One’s governing body announced Andretti would not be a competitive addition to the grid.
‘Our assessment process has established that the presence of an 11th team would not, on its own, provide value to the Championship,’ the statement read.
‘The most significant way in which a new entrant would bring value is by being competitive. We do not believe that the applicant would be a competitive participant.’
Formula One chief executive Stefano Domenicali had previously voiced concerns over whether the introduction of a new team would add overall value.
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‘While the Andretti name carries some recognition for F1 fans, our research indicates that F1 would bring value to the Andretti brand rather than the other way around,’ the statement added.
‘The addition of an 11th team would place an operational burden on race promoters, would subject some of them to significant costs and would reduce the technical, operational and commercial spaces of the other competitors.
‘We were not able to identify any material expected positive effect on CRH financial results, as a key indicator of the pure commercial value of the Championship.
‘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. We conclude that the applicant’s application to participate in the Championship should not be successful.’
While it rejected the Andretti application for 2025, Formula One indicated the door was not shut on another potential entry bid in the future, depending how the team’s engine power unit setup was developed.
‘F1 felt this was not a good situation for the health of the Championship, but its feelings could change once Andretti get plans for an alliance with Cadillac up and running, potentially as early as 2028,’ the governing body’s statement added.
‘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.
‘In this case, there would be additional factors to consider in respect of the value that the applicant would bring to the Championship, in particular in respect of bringing a prestigious new OEM (original equipment manufacturer) to the sport as a PU (power unit) supplier.’
Andretti said in a statement they disagreed with the findings and would continue with the project.
‘Andretti Cadillac has reviewed the information Formula One Management Limited has shared and strongly disagree with its contents,’ the statement read.
‘Andretti and Cadillac are two successful global motorsports organisations committed to placing a genuine American works team in F1, competing alongside the world’s best.
‘We are proud of the significant progress we have already made on developing a highly competitive car and power unit with an experienced team behind it, and our work continues at pace.
‘Andretti Cadillac would also like to acknowledge and thank the fans who have expressed their support.’
Considering the rhetoric coming out of Formula One since Andretti’s intention to join the series was revealed, this news should have been expected. Yet, it feels like a surprise.
Andretti is an institution in motorsport, a truly American team to help amplify Formula One’s expansion in the US. Let’s not forget this entry has key backing from Guggenheim Partners, which claims to have more than US$285 billion in assets under management.
But, as it always does in Formula One, Andretti’s rejection comes down to money: it doesn’t matter how much the outfit can bring to the table when the existing teams are concerned about how much they will take away.
While leaving the door open for an entry in 2028 feels a little like FOM kicking the can down the road, it also conveniently falls after the next Concorde Agreement begins in 2026.
Once Formula One has ratified an anti-dilution fee higher than the current US$200 million, rather than offering guesses at what it could be, then we may see a more serious approach to Andretti’s bid.