Formula 1 has become an attractive stage. Anyone who invests half a billion dollars in a first class entry today is worth 800 million in no time at all. But first he has to get a ticket to the exclusive circle. The sporting regulations provide places for twelve teams with 24 cars.
Four teams applied to join in February. After an official examination of the questionnaires, the FIA took a closer look at the four candidates and examined whether they were technically, personally and financially capable of handling the Formula 1 project.
The four applicants have yet to be officially named. In the paddock, it is rumored that, in addition to the well-known names Andretti Autosport and Hitech Grand Prix, a project called “Lucky Sun” by a wealthy man from Chinese Hong Kong and Rodin Motorsport from New Zealand has submitted their applications. Rodan is Australian billionaire David Dekker, who made his fortune selling computer hardware and software.
Rejection by teams
The FIA’s review process is supposed to be completed at the end of July, but Andretti and the Hitech GP have already been given the go-ahead. The ball is in formula 1. In theory, Liberty can veto applications. At the Formula 1 headquarters, they deliberately keep a low profile and prefer to let the teams speak for themselves. With the exception of the Alps, they tend to indicate no.
Alpine is supporting the application of new applicants as the French racing team will be the first port of call for the engine and chassis partnership. In fact, all four candidates have already taken the test at Alpine. It is clear to everyone that you can only enter Formula 1 with a Haas-Ferrari model. That would be a welcome source of income in the Alps.
Other teams also care about money, even if they don’t make it very clear, of course. The $200 million that every expatriate must put on the table to make up for the existing difference is not enough for the facility. They estimated the compensation payment to be close to $600 million. They also want to have a say in the preparation process for the new teams. At the moment they do not have veto power.
There is no added value to Formula 1
However, both can only be installed in the next Concorde Agreement from 2026. This is still in its infancy. The team stoically formulates their refusal with the argument that each newcomer must increase the added value of the chain. But they don’t say exactly what the added value is.
They would probably accept a car manufacturer like General Motors as a standalone team, but even with such a heavyweight, they’d rather advise themselves to buy into an existing team than start something from scratch.
Ferrari team boss Frédéric Vasseur puts it simply: “The nationality of the team doesn’t have to matter. It can’t be a ticket just because someone comes from the USA. We already have an American team with Haas. Formula 1’s popularity is more measured anyway on the nationality of the drivers.” of the difference.”
Colleague Toto Wolfe reminds us that American sports franchise systems are a closed circuit. When new clubs are accepted, all stakeholders, including established teams, must have a say. Under this situation, the extension makes sense because everyone is in common.
Protectionism has now reached the point where teams have operational reasons against expanding the field. “Most racetracks don’t even fit 11 garages in the pit lane.” Or: “In qualifying sessions, we trip ourselves over some roads because there’s a lot of traffic on the road. It’s a safety risk.”
Who is the boss in the ring?
If the FIA now certifies Formula 1 suitability for one or two applicants, it could lead to a power struggle between the FIA and F1 management. Perhaps the association would like that. FIA President Mohamed Ben Sulayem can use Andretti as an example to show who is the real boss in the house. It seems to bother him more and more that public perception is different. For most people, Stefano Domenicali is the boss.
Formula 1 celebrated sold-out races, full coffers and the boom in the premium class. The FIA is battered by incomprehensible regulations, too many penalties and too long decision-making processes. This seems to fuel the president’s desire to raise the flag on a cause he believes the majority of fans are on his side.
The association would probably let Hitech GP jump over the blade and show itself willing to negotiate. There, Formula 1 is concerned that longtime owner Dmitry Mazepin may still be behind the Kazakh financiers. If there is even the slightest suspicion that Russian money could be involved, the FIA should also pull the plug.
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Andretti hot potato
Andretti, on the other hand, is a Formula 1 hot potato. Especially since Andretti could also muster GM as a partner. You will have to find very good reasons to refuse such an emotionally charged venture. It could easily backfire because Andretti and General Motors are big names in the US and the door doesn’t close.
Michael Andretti’s Formula 1 plan may provide the necessary arguments. One hears that he wants to base the majority of the team in the US and is said to be considering joining as early as 2025. As a result, Andretti, as a new team, will have to build two cars based on very different regulations in a couple of years.
Formula 1 can veto new teams, but it can’t stop them. The final word on licensing rests with the FIA. But even if Andretti gets a license, he still hasn’t won. He will then be allowed to participate, but he will no longer be part of the Concorde Agreement and therefore will not be entitled to collect entry and prize money. He needs Liberty’s approval for that.
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