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FIA 'transparent' with FOM over Andretti entry bid - President Ben Sulayem

Andretti has entered commercial discussions with FOM to determine it's acceptance as an 11th team.

Ben Sulayem Qatar
To news overview © XPBimages

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has insisted the FIA has been "transparent" with FOM during the bidding process for an 11th F1 team.

Andretti Cadillac Racing was the only bid to have passed the initial two phases of the entry process, led by the FIA, and will now complete commercial discussions with FOM [Formula One Management] ahead of full acceptance onto the grid.

Whilst Ben Sulayem and the FIA have strongly backed an 11th entry, F1 and its incumbent teams have pushed against the prospect of being joined over fears financial growth could be stunted.

"Is the FIA benefitting financially from it? No, but once we declared it, the Liberty Media share price went up, so where is the problem?" Ben Sulayem told select media, including RacingNews365.com.

"We are under EU rules, so if we [don't allow Andretti to join], we are jeopardising the integrity of the FIA.

"If it is Andretti or any other team, as long as they follow the due diligence and the process, we are going to accept it - it is our duty, there are 12 teams allowed and we looked at them separately and treated them all the same.

"They will add value, I believe, and when Andretti came with GM, of course, it is sustainable to motorsport and to the business.

"If they don't see the commercial side, that's there also... but I hope and I am positive and optimistic that we will not come to that point."

Trust in Domenicali

On why he was so optimistic Andretti would make the cut, Ben Sulayem explained: "There are many aspects to this.

"First of all, Liberty is an American company. I read that Liberty was approving and would like to have an 11th team.

"Then looking at the share price, it went up instead of down when we declared it - that's good for them.

"Thirdly, to say no to an American OEM is very hard and the country is good for business.

"But what I will say is I trust Stefano [Domenicali, F1 CEO]. He doesn't come from only commercial, he comes from the automotive industry and the sport also, which gives me optimism.

"Every move we did, we had meetings together and we had video calls with GM and Stefano was in them, so we didn't do it behind anybody's back, we were transparent with him.

"We went through the right process and he was with us."

F1 2023 Qatar Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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