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FIA

FIA President urges 'common sense' over Andretti Cadillac F1 entry bid

Mohammed Ben Sulayem has publicly backed the American outfit's bid to join the F1 grid.

Ben Sulayem Italian GP 2022
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FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has urged for "common sense" to prevail when making a decision over whether Andretti Cadillac Racing will become an 11th team in F1.

The sport's governing body launched an Expressions of Interest process earlier this year, with the final decision on expansion expected at the end of July.

There is capacity to increase the grid to 12 teams and the most open bid since the beginning of the process has been Andretti Cadillac, with Michael Andretti's outfit pushing for entry from 2025.

Speaking to AP and confirming there had been "more than five" entry bids submitted, Ben Sulayem explained: “People have to understand we are here to promote motorsport and we are here to be fair.

"The Expressions of Interest process is very robust and there is no circumstance where we can deny any teams if they fulfil the criteria to enter."

'Imagine me saying no'

"Imagine me saying no to someone like GM [General Motors]?" added Ben Sulayem.

"We have in the regulations that we can go up to 12 teams. I’m not breaking [rules]. But do we allow anyone to enter? No. But how on earth can we refuse GM?

“I mean, where’s the common sense in this? GM is a heavyweight and when they come with Andretti, that’s good for all of us.”

Andretti initially announced its bid to enter F1 through 1978 World Champion Mario Andretti under the Andretti Global name, though it became clear the lack of factory support would stand in its way as the incumbent teams sought to protect the overall value of the grid.

But the decision to partner with General Motors was a power play from Andretti and has seen Ben Sulayem publicly back the entry effort.

“One of the reasons we did was because they were persistent,” he said.

“It’s about serious contenders, and they came and we said ‘OK, we need an OEM [Original Equipment Manufacturer].’ and then they provided GM, the biggest car manufacturer in the United States, and then it became stronger.

“I don’t blame some of the teams for being reluctant or refusing or rejecting, let’s say, because people want to sit within their own area, which means that there is no one new coming that will even challenge them... challenge them with maybe the performance or the financial benefits.

"But we believe that the conditions are right for new entrants for F1.”

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