Following several months of deliberations, Formula One Management (FOM) has opted to deny Andretti Global’s application to join the grid for either the 2025 or 2026 season.
The news will come as a severe blow to the Andretti organisation which has been operating at its factory in close resemblance to an established F1 team to ensure its bid was being taken seriously.
Several of the existing F1 teams have voiced concern over the addition of an 11th squad amid fears of diluting the end-of-year prize fund. Andretti crossed its first major hurdle last year following approval from the FIA and then entered talks with FOM to further discuss the validity of its entry.
Convincing the commercial rights holder was always going to be much more difficult task compared to the sport’s governing body and perhaps it was no surprise when F1 declared that “an 11th team would not, in and of itself, provide value to the Championship”.
F1 noted that a hypothetical new team would carry the most value if it arrived on the grid in a competitive manner, “in particular by competing for podiums and race wins”.
Amid immediate accusations that F1 rejected Andretti to protect the financial interests of its current teams (whose values have rocketed in recent years), F1 did not shy away from declaring that a competitive 11th team would “directly increase the value in the eyes of key shareholders and sources of revenue such as broadcasters and race promoters”, making it a key factor behind the rejection.
While it is understandable that the sport wishes to avoid a repeat of having a team join and be consistently uncompetitive - such as HRT, Marussia and Caterham in the early 2010s - it sets an extremely high bar for any interested operation to reach from the get-go.
F1 also pointed out that the 2025 season marks the last year of the current technical regulations, with fresh rules ready to come into play the following year.
Andretti proposed that it would build a car under the 2025 regulations and then construct an entirely new challenger for the rule reset, however F1 was unconvinced by the realistic ability for a new team to do so in a competitive way.
General Motors to save the day?
Andretti’s entry is backed by General Motors (GM) who has already registered as a Power Unit manufacturer for the 2028 campaign. The prospect of having GM involved in F1 has garnered interest from FOM - and it’s why Andretti’s F1 entry is not totally out of the question.
GM has registered as a Power Unit supplier for the 2028 campaign and the automotive giant, who would enter with its Cadillac division, has indicated that it would only be willing to work with Andretti.
There’s little doubt in the mind of shareholders that GM’s involvement carries more weight than Andretti's - F1’s statement asserted that “while the Andretti name carries some recognition for F1 fans, our research indicates that F1 would bring value to the Andretti brand rather than the other way around.”
But a potential barrier to any 2028 entry would be the raising of the anti-dilution fee new entrants must pay the existing 10 teams, which is currently $200 million. That will be raised when the Concorde Agreement is renegotiated for 2026.
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However, GM would not be ready to join the grid with its own Power Unit for at least two years after Andretti’s entry, and F1 asserted that a risk exists over the intellectual property of an established engine manufacturer if it were to supply Andretti for a short period before GM’s arrival.
While F1 acknowledged that GM has ‘the resource and credibility” to take on the challenge of building an engine, it highlighted that “success is not assured”.
It added that “coming to the sport as a new PU manufacturer is also a huge challenge, with which major automotive manufacturers have struggled in the past, and one which can take a manufacturer a number of years of significant investment in order to become competitive.”
Despite its reservations, F1 confirmed that it would look upon the entry differently for 2028 if it was to be a works GM team or a customer GM team with all allowable components designed in-house.
For now, however, Andretti’s hope of arriving on the F1 grid in the near future has been squashed.