Andretti F1 plan nearing FIA approval but teams still protective

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Andretti Global's bid to join the grid in F1 is reportedly close to getting the green light from the FIA as its entry application nears its completion.

The American outfit – which is partnering with GM's Cadillac brand for its F1 endeavor – is the leading candidate among five prospective entries vying for a spot among motorsport's elite and which have taken part in the FIA's 'Expression of Interest' selection process.

But even if Andretti's bid is rubber-stamped by the FIA, it still needs to surmount another significant hurdle positioned in its way by Formula 1 and its ten teams.

Over the past months, the latter – through the voice of F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali – have argued against accepting an eleventh team on the grid as this would only dilute the sport's existing pool of prize money, even despite Andretti paying a hefty $200 million one-time entry fee that would go straight into the teams' coffers.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been supportive of Andretti's efforts and claimed that its entry would be hard to refuse for F1.

But in Singapore, as Andretti's F1 plans move closer to reality, the teams appeared no more inclined to accept Andretti's presence that they were in the past;

"I think why F1 and the teams have survived in the last years is because we all stuck together," explained Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

"The FIA, FOM and the 10 teams, we need to protect the sport. We're holding this sensitive sport that's growing at the moment in our hands.

"And that's why the right decisions need to be taken all of us together, when it comes to, let's say, a mindset and then obviously the FIA and F1 when it comes to these decisions, because it's out of the teams' hands.

"But I would hope that Mohammed Ben Sulayem, and Stefano will take the right decisions for F1."

McLaren Racing boss Zak Brown, who has expressed in the past a positive view on adding Andretti to the field, believes that the current $200 million entry fee that must be paid by new outfits, and which was set five years ago, no longer reflects the increased value of the sport's franchises.

"I think our view's unchanged," said Brown. "And we're just going to kind of wait and see how the process plays out.

"I think the one thing I would say is the value of an F1 team and an entry from what it was five years ago. The sport is worth substantially more, so I think that that element needs to be discussed."

Haas team boss Guenther Steiner, who manages the only American team on the grid, was on the same page as Wolff.

"I'm sure Stefano knows how to deal with this in our best interest," said the Italian.

"We put our faith in FOM to deal with it, and as Zak said teams are worth now a lot more than we were when we were deciding the Concorde Agreement in 2020, where some teams were struggling to stay in business, and were worth basically nothing. The market has changed."

Alfa Romeo F1 director Alessandro Alunni Bravi is also agreed that any new entrant must "recognize" Grand Prix racing's accrued value.

"We think that any new team must bring an added value to the entire F1 community," he said.

"And so it needs to be a solid project, not just for a five-year period, but it must be a really long-term project with a strong foundation, and of course, any new entry needs to recognise the value and all the investments that have been done by the current teams.

"And as Zak and Toto mention, the worth of the current teams has grown significantly in the past few years. We need to protect our business, but we rely on the FIA and FOM to take the right decision.

"We will be ready to welcome any new teams that have this kind of characteristic. But we need first to also understand what is the best for the entire F1 community, with a long-term perspective."

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