Domenicali: Number of teams competing in F1 'not a weakness'

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Formula 1 chief Stefano Domenicali reiterated his belief that the sport doesn't need an eleventh team on the grid, further squashing Andretti Global's prospective F1 ambitions.

The all-American effort headed by team owner Michael Andretti is vying for an entry into Grand Prix racing with its own structure after its failed bid last year to acquire Sauber-Alfa Romeo F1.

Andretti's case is reportedly in the hands of the FIA which has yet to approve the eligibility of the team's entry.

But Formula 1 itself has been anything but supportive of Andretti's plans to join the grid, with several teams insisting that an eleventh entrant will only dilute each outfit's share of the teams revenue.

A one-time $200 million 'anti-dilution' fee, which Andretti is willing to pay, has been established by the FIA. But F1 teams argue that the lump sum would only compensate them once for their lower income level.


Meanwhile, the Andretti family, through the comments of Michael and his father Mario, has been quite vocal and critical of Formula 1's protectionist stance and of its doubts - as expressed by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff - that its eponymous outfit would add value to the sport.

Domenicali appeared to take exception with Andretti's criticism, suggesting that there are other candidates looking to join the sport and who are adopting a low profile while following the normal entry "protocol".

"I think today in the actual status of F1, it's not a problem of quantity, where we can see a step of increasing the value of F1," Domenicali said ahead of this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix.

"It is a matter of understanding really, not only the ones that have a bigger or louder voice, but there will be other people, because Andretti was quite vocal about his request.

"There are others that have done the same, in a different way.

"Mario I know him very very well since a long time – he’s trying to present his idea in a way that he thought is the right way to do, but I believe there is a governance in place, and the decision has to follow the protocol that is in place.

"Mario is very vocal, Michael too, and I spoke with them quite often, as you can imagine, and we need to respect that. We may have different opinions," added the Italian.

"The evaluation is not only with Andretti, the evaluation is with others that are respecting the silence or trying to be more productive on approving who they are, and respecting the protocol we have put in place.

"I do believe there are more teams that will give more value to the championship, but there is a protocol that has to be fulfilled and everyone – Andretti included – is following that.

"Today we are talking about the new regulations 2026 and all the manufacturers involved in that, incumbent or maybe the new one, are saying that the time is running very quickly – four years to do another power unit – we need to be prudent.

"When we’re talking about Formula 1, we need to have an entity or a team or a manufacturer that is really solid, that is really strong and has a full commitment for an incredibly long time. Today, I don’t see honestly the need of that increase to have a big value for the sport of Formula 1.

"I don’t see a weakness in the number of teams in Formula 1."

When it was suggested to Domenicali that boosting the number of entrants in Formula 1 would perhaps help protect the sport against the whims of a sudden manufacture's pull-out, the Italian countered the argument by arguing that the level of outside interest in F1 is not only good for incumbents, it also increases their value.

"I think that today that is not a problem," he said. "We have the other way around. We have the same situation of the Grands Prix – more people who want to enter, by far, than people that want to leave.

"Because there is the interest of a lot of manufacturers, but also a lot of teams, the actual ones can discuss and commercialise and negotiate with them, if they feel they're weak, or if they feel there's no future for them.

"So I think it's also another value for the ones that are here, knowing that around them there are manufacturers or other teams that want to be in the business.

"So it's a fact that will, in my opinion, of course reinforce the value of F1."

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