A majority of F1 teams still appear reluctant to accept Andretti as an eleventh entrant in the sport, despite partner General Motors’ commitment to become an engine manufacturer in F1 from 2028.
The American automotive giant announced earlier this week that it had registered with the FIA to joins Grand Prix racing’s pool of power unit manufacturers in the future.
The news theoretically strengthens Andretti’s F1 endeavor, for which GM is a partner with the American outfit through its Cadillac brand.
Andretti – which was given a thumbs up by the FIA as a potential eleventh entrant in the sport – must now convince F1 itself of its merits and explain how its presence on the grid may boost the value and exposure of the field.
It appears however that Andretti is still facing an uphill battle against the sport’s incumbents.
“I think every single new engine supplier is welcome in F1,” said Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur in Las Vegas.
“But it’s not the same story as the 11th team. It’s two separate questions. I think the real question is on the engine suppliers and we can have a new engine supplier.”
Toto Wolff also welcomes GM’s involvement but the Mercedes F1 boss would like to see some hard numbers and projections on how Andretti can add value to the current grid.
“GM is one of the big players, no doubt, and I guess if they say they want to join the sport in ’28, they are serious about it,” said Wolff. “It’s a good commitment.”
“But we’ve got to see whether the commercial rights holder deems this to be a good entry or not. “For many teams it’s a big dilution which can make the difference between big losses or less losses and I haven’t changed my opinion on that.
“We haven’t seen any data. Just to say ‘it’s going to be awesome’ – where’s the case? What are the numbers? How much can we gain in popularity? What’s the name worth? How much more can the sport be attractive?
“What’s the facts? And if those facts are positive, I have no doubt that F1 consider it in that way.”
Williams team principal James Vowles, who believes that expanding the grid carries financial risk for the teams, was on the same page as Wolff.
“GM, I think, is a good company to bring into our sport. We have no discussions with them, but I just think they’re the sort of company, the sort of OEM that will grow our sport as a result of things.
“But my view hasn’t changed on the additional 11th team, fundamentally. It’s still around the finances of Williams, which is where my focus is.”
Despite the prospect of entering F1 as early as 2025, Andretti intends to introduce its team ahead of Cadillac, which is slated for a potential entry three years later.
This timeline implies that Andretti would need an interim power unit. Guenther Steiner, the team principal of Haas, raised the question of whether Andretti should be granted entry before the GM brand, given this situation.
“I think it’s good news that GM wants to come into Formula 1,” he said. “I don’t know the exact detail of how this process works because I never looked into it to do an engine in my life.”
“I don’t know if it change something because I don’t know the details of this,” Steiner added.. “It’s ’28: What is happening until ’28?”