FIA approve Andretti F1 entry

US-based team and General Motors now face assessment from Formula One itself.
  • Andretti now has to be granted F1 approval
  • All other entry bids failed, including LKY Sunz, Hitech GP and Rodin Cars

Andretti’s bid to enter Formula One has been formally approved by the International Automobile Federation (FIA).

Governing body approval is merely the first step for the US-based team, however, as Formula One itself will now need to conduct its own assessment on the commercial value of the proposition.

The FIA’s statement also revealed that this was the only bid that fulfilled the selection criteria, meaning Hitech Grand Prix and LKY Sunz have fallen short, in addition to the Rodin Cars bid.

“The FIA was very clear in establishing stringent criteria for entry from the outset of the expressions of interest procedure,” said FIA president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

“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 motorsport participation and development.”

This process will likely take months before any decision is reached by Formula One, but the series’ chief executive has been vocal in his opposition to expanding the grid to 11 teams. It is not yet clear if this will be for a 2026 entry.

A Formula One statement read: ‘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.’

At present, the Concorde Agreement – the contract through which all teams agree the terms to race in Formula One – allows for a maximum of 12 teams on the grid, and any new team joining the series has to pay an anti-dilution fee of US$200 million.

This amount is now considered far too low with the current value of Formula One, especially now the average value of a Formula One team sits at an estimated US$1.88 billion, so existing teams want the anti-dilution fee raised to at least US$600 million.

BlackBook says…

With a new US$200 million headquarters in Indiana and a global rebrand, Andretti has been gearing up for this moment for some time. However, this is just the first hurdle on the path to Formula One.

With opposition from teams and Formula One itself throughout this process, this decision is anything but a foregone conclusion. But, Formula One is going to have to find a very good reason to not allow Andretti on the grid that doesn’t breach EU anti-trust laws.

With General Motors on board through its Cadillac brand, it makes little commercial sense for Formula One to reject this bid. But, this is Formula One, and the series is cautious to not revisit years past of unsustainable grids beyond ten teams.

However, this is a budget cap era and Formula One has never been richer in financial health. With viewership in the US threatening to wane, the addition of the US behemoth that is Andretti is exactly the kind of stimulus that the series could need.