F1 boss Domenicali “not changing my mind” on 11th team

FIA expected to announce successful applicants by end of month.
  • FIA president Ben Sulayem has hinted a grid expansion is coming
  • F1 boss Domenicali has been against the idea of an 11th team

Formula One chief executive Stefano Domenicali has said “I'm not changing my mind” on the prospect of an 11th team on the grid.

Speculation has been rife in recent months about the potential for new teams to join the existing ten on the Formula One grid. Applicants include the joint Andretti Cadillac bid, junior outfits Hitech Grand Prix and Carlin, the Asia-based LKY Sunz team and the Formula Equal project.

While motorsport's governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA), has been open to expanding the grid, Domenicali has repeatedly taken the opposite stance.

“On [the prospect of an 11th team], I'm not changing my mind,” Domenicali told Motorsport.com. “It's not the money, as we have said, and I don't want to anticipate anything because there is a process and I think that I have respect the fact the FIA launched their process, and very soon we will arrive at the conclusion.

“As we always said, we need to make sure that the decision is right for the business. 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.”

Michael Andretti, who is leading the joint Andretti Cadillac bid, recently revealed that he has approached every current Formula One team about a potential sale and been rejected by every single one.

Domenicali revealed “there are positives and negatives” to Andretti’s bid but he cannot “spoil or anticipate anything”.

This leaves a grid expansion as the only possible avenue into the sport for interested parties, something that remains a clear difference of opinion between Formula One and the FIA.

The announcement on successful applications is expected at the end of this month, but FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has given an early hint that expansion could be coming.

“People have to understand we are here to promote motorsport and we are here to be fair. The expressions of interest process is very robust and there is no circumstance where we can deny any teams if they fulfill the criteria to enter,” Ben Sulayem told AP News.

“So imagine me saying no to someone like [General Motors]? We have in the regulations that we can go up to 12 teams. I’m not breaking [rules]. But do we allow anyone to enter? No. But how on earth can we refuse GM? I mean, where’s the common sense in this? GM is a heavyweight and when they come with Andretti, that’s good for all of us.”

Another area up for debate is the contest for Formula One’s tyre tender between 2025 and 2027, with an option to extend to 2028. Current tyre supplier Pirelli is being challenged by Bridgestone for the contract.

Domenicali expanded: “[A decision] should be close. As always, we're going to decide that together. So it shouldn't take too long for the final decision.

“I mean, I cannot anticipate too much. There are all the elements in place there are technical elements, commercial elements, and economical elements. So all of these things we try to make the right evaluation of, for the best decision for F1 of course.”

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