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Why F1 Rejected Andretti’s Bid to Join the Grid: “Not Be a Competitive Participant”

F1 has handed out its reasons, but Andretti have rejected them suggesting that this saga isn’t over. ...

Despite getting the okay from the FIA, Andretti’s bid to join the F1 grid in 2025 has been rejected by the Formula 1 organisation. F1 has handed out its reasons, but Andretti have rejected them suggesting that this saga isn’t over.

F1’s reasons for rejecting the bid were wide ranging and extensive, from the likelihood of competitiveness to a perceived lack of commercial value.

The Feasibility of Joining in 2025 Amidst 2026 Rule Changes

Formula 1 said that Andretti’s wish to join in 2025 was not plausible given the challenges of creating not just one car, but two under two different sets of regulations in a very short amount of time.

“We do not believe that there is a basis for any new applicant to be admitted in 2025 given that this would involve a novice entrant building two completely different cars in its first two years of existence,” said F1.

“The fact that the Applicant proposes to do so gives us reason to question their understanding of the scope of the challenge involved. While a 2026 entry would not face this specific issue it is nevertheless the case that Formula 1, as the pinnacle of world motorsport, represents a unique technical challenge to constructors of a nature that the Applicant has not faced in any other formula or discipline in which it has previously competed.”

This is despite the fact that this is exactly what Haas did when they joined in 2016 with immediate results. Though the state of Haas right now might be exactly what F1 are trying avoid, yet another backmarker. Either that or Haas were vocal about being the only American team on the grid and wanting to keep it that way.

Engine Issues: From Customer to Works Team

One of the factors favouring Andretti’s entry was their partnership with General Motors and Cadillac. This would allow the Andretti team to build their own power units with GM in the long-term. Another engine manufacturer in the sport is something even F1 admits is a good thing. The problem is that it wouldn’t be possible until 2028.

This wasn’t an issue when Andretti had an engine deal with Renault, but that has since expired. Instead, Andretti are relying on a “compulsory” engine deal. This is a mechanism implemented by the FIA whereby engine manufacturers will be forced to provide power units to a competitor if no deal has been reached.

F1 wasn’t pleased about this because of the relationship between Andretti and GM possibly putting their intellectual property at risk.

“The Applicant proposes to attempt this with a dependency on a compulsory supply from a rival PU manufacturer that will inevitably be reticent to extend its collaboration with the Applicant beyond the minimum required while the Applicant pursues its ambition of collaborating with GM as a PU supplier in the longer term, which a compulsory PU supplier would see as a risk to its intellectual property and know-how,” F1 stated.

Perceived Value

The last major reason behind the rejection has been a question of added value to the sport. This is a topic more subjective than the others, but it’s one repeatedly mentioned in F1’s statement, often being tied with the rest of their objections.

F1 spoke to the various stakeholders to establish Andretti’s potential impact on the sport from value added to fans, their impact on the prestige of the sport, competitiveness on the grid, and their effect on the sport’s sustainability goals.

Ultimately, the best way that Andretti could add value is by “being competitive”, which as per the previous stated reasons, F1 doesn’t believe will be the case.

As it pertains to prestige, the power unit issue comes into play again stating, “The need for any new team to take a compulsory power unit supply, potentially over a period of several seasons, would be damaging to the prestige and standing of the championship.”

The big headline quote reads, “F1 would bring value to the Andretti brand rather than the other way around.”

This comes despite Andretti’s success in several other racing series including IndyCar and Formula E, though F1 argues those series experiences don’t qualify or transfer to Formula 1.

There are also extra costs added with an 11th team such as extra facilities in the pits each weekend as well as reducing the “technical, operational, and commercial spaces of the other competitors.”

But perhaps the most damning quote reads as follows: “We were not able to identify any material expected positive effect on CRH financial results, as a key indicator of the pure commercial value of the championship.”

Andretti’s Response

While it certainly seems that the door has been firmly shut for Andretti until they can produce their own engines, Andretti haven’t given up. The team released a statement and while it doesn’t specifically address F1’s points, the prospective team “strongly disagrees with its contents.”

“Andretti and Cadillac are two successful global motorsports organisations committed to placing a genuine American works team in F1, competing alongside the world’s best,” it said.

“We are proud of the significant progress we have already made on developing a highly competitive car and power unit with an experienced team behind it, and our work continues at pace.”

They’ve already built a model in a wind tunnel, expecting to be granted entry, and it seems that “at pace” suggests that they aren’t going to be stopping their efforts soon.  

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