FIA boss left astounded by reaction to Andretti-Cadillac plans for F1

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FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has claimed he was left surprised by the ‘adverse reaction’ to Andretti and Cadillac signalling its intention to join Formula One. Andretti and Cadillac joined forces and announced their plans to become the 11th team on the F1 grid just days after FIA boss Ben Sulayem had opened the door for potential new entries into the sport.

Ben Sulayem had encouraged applications from new teams with the launch of a formal ‘Expressions of Interest’ process and iconic motorsport brand Andretti is looking to capitalise by finally making its way into the paddock.

Andretti – owned by former F1 driver Michael Andretti, son of legendary former world champion Mario Andretti – announced a partnership this week with Cadillac, a division of the US car giant General Motors, to form Andretti Cadillac.

“I welcome the news of the Cadillac and Andretti partnership and the FIA looks forward to further discussions on the FIA F1 World Championship expressions of interest process,” Ben Sulaymen said after the announcement. 

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But the FIA president is clearly unimpressed by the lukewarm response received to the possible emergence of an Andretti Cadillac team on the grid from 2026. The huge collaboration between one of America’s most famous racing teams and its biggest motor company has not been welcomed with open arms by F1 teams, with notable opposition to a new addition by those already on the grid. 

There are concerns in the paddock that an 11th team would dilute the commercial opportunities and prize money within the sport.

It is surprising that there has been some adverse reaction to the Cadillac and Andretti news,” Ben Sulayem’s Twitter post read on Sunday. “The FIA has accepted the entries of smaller, successful organisations in recent years.

“We should be encouraging prospective F1 entries from global manufacturers like GM and thoroughbred racers like Andretti and others. Interest from teams in growth markets adds diversity and broadens F1’s appeal.”

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The prospective bid from Andretti Cadillac is yet to be approved and commercial rights holders F1 must sanction any new entry to the grid alongside the FIA.

“There is great interest in the F1 project at this time with a number of conversations continuing that are not as visible as others,” F1’s statement read.

“We all want to ensure the championship remains credible and stable and any new entrant request will be assessed on criteria to meet those objectives by all the relevant stakeholders. Any new entrant request requires the agreement of both F1 and the FIA.”

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