- Andretti look likely to be accepted into Formula One
- Teams do not have veto rights on potential entrants
- Only Alpine openly support an expansion of the grid
Formula One shouldn’t accept a team “just because someone comes from the US”, says Ferrari team principal Frédéric Vasseur.
Earlier this year, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) launched an application process for prospective Formula One teams. US-based Andretti Autosport has been the most outspoken of those to express interest.
With backing from General Motors, it’s by far the most attractive entry for Formula One, but there has been a lukewarm reception from Formula One teams looking to protect their commercial interests.
The narrative is that having an American team will benefit a series looking to build a base in the US, but this has been dismissed by Ferrari boss Vasseur.
“The nationality of the team shouldn’t matter,” he told German news outlet Auto Motor und Sport (AMuS). “It can't be a ticket just because someone comes from the US.
“We already have an American team with Haas. The popularity of Formula One is more measured anyway on the nationality of the drivers than the teams.”
At the moment, a prospective entrant to Formula One would have to pay a US$200 million anti-dilution fee to be split among existing teams, but teams want this to be raised to at least US$600 million to reflect the increased value of Formula One.
This entrance fee is tied to the sport’s Concorde Agreement, the contract that dictates who races in Formula One and how total revenues are shared.
Forbes recently reported that the average value of a Formula One team is US$1.88 billion, a 276 per cent increase since 2019, which was around the time the terms of the current Concorde Agreement were drawn up.
AMuS reports that, currently, Formula One teams do not have veto rights on potential entrants, so it appears any FIA decision will be final.
This protectionist attitude is short-sighted, and it appears to be shared by the majority of the grid.
The only obvious support for new entries coming from Alpine as the French marque will likely gain at least one new source for their engine supply.
With Formula One chief executive Stefano Domenicali also steadfast in his opinion, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem will stir up controversy if he decides to accept one or more teams.
A likely scenario could see Formula One go head-to-head with its governing body, but this could be a political move from the FIA to display its authority.
On Vasseur’s comments, it is interesting that, if Andretti are accepted into Formula One, they will bring at least one American driver with them to Formula One, with the likes of Colton Herta and Kyle Kirkwood in their stable of drivers in IndyCar.
Plus, while Haas are US-owned, they are predominantly based in Banbury, UK, operating out of the former headquarters of the Marussia Formula One team.
Andretti Autosport are a historic racing team and they are serious about Formula One – they are building a US$200 million global base of operations in Indianapolis – but it now comes down to Formula One to show that it’s priority remains going racing.