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GM, Andretti Hand F1 a Very Bitter Pill to Swallow

There will be a Cadillac powered Andretti car on the Formula 1 grid in the future.

Sure, Formula One Group still has not officially approved the entry – after the FIA approved the Andretti proposal last month and General Motors officially signed on for 2028 on Nov. 14 – and they are not inclined to, as the teams almost unilaterally agree that they do not want an 11th team on the grid.

The reasons why are ever-changing, with the goalposts moving. First, Andretti was unlikely to be supported by the teams due to being a customer team. After Andretti lured GM over to partner up with them, then it became “well, all they’d be doing is slapping a Cadillac sticker over a Renault logo.”

Now General Motors has made it clear cut that they will be producing engines for the team. The new line of excuses will be heard in team principal Q&A’s on media day this week for the Las Vegas Grand Prix, I’m sure.

The teams do not have literal control or a vote on if Andretti can join the grid, but with a new Concorde Agreement coming in 2026, they do have leverage over both the FIA and FOM.

They can try so hard, and get so far in their opposition to Andretti. But in the end, it doesn’t even matter.

It would be far too damaging PR-wise for F1 to outright to deny Andretti a spot on the grid. Every poll I have seen so far online have come up with Andretti having overwhelming support, even before the full-throated GM endorsement this week.

Would Andretti Cadillac be worth more to F1 than whatever money they would take from teams by taking a slice of their pie? Yes, it would, before even remembering that Ford’s involvement with Red Bull Power Trains means that the two American giants will make the F1 grid the latest site of their never ending war.

See also
Road to Las Vegas Grand Prix Raising Serious Questions

The reality is that F1 has grown in the last few years. There is room for an 11th team on the grid. The grid has arguably never been as close as it is now, with how close and varied qualifying has become this year. This is may be the first year since round qualifying started that every team has a reasonable shot to get into Q3 any week.

It would be one thing if there was a team or two just barely hanging on. But that’s not the case now, especially in the cost cap era. Red Bull is spending about a fourth of what top teams 10 years ago were spending annually, and that’s before adjusting for inflation.

Sure, the constructor’s championship purse has not risen to the point where a team can survive spending to the cap without taking on outside funding, like in the NFL. This is something that might help the existing F1 teams, including the two most opposed to Andretti the most, Williams and Haas, get to that level.

As an aside, Haas continually speaking out against Andretti is such a contradiction. When Haas joined the grid, it was a time where multiple teams where facing serious financial problems. Haas and their immediate speed off the ground, combined with the rule that only the top 10 in constructors would receive prize money at the end of the year, ensured that one of either Manor or Sauber would die off at the end of the year.

This ended up coming to pass, when Manor finished 11th in 2016 and folded after the season. It’s something that would not come to pass anytime soon, with many people beyond Andretti interested in F1 in some form or fashion who would jump at the chance.

So F1 has three options here, two of them being very painful and the third hurting only their pride and ego.

The first would be to say no. This would be maybe the best day for F1 Twitter/X/Bluesky in history. Imagine the memes, and all the digging up of previous contradicting statements from F1 figures.

The lawsuits would come very fast from Andretti, by all accounts. A long legal fight both with Andretti and potentially with the European Union for anti-cartel laws being infringed on is not a wise decision.

The second option would be the messiest: force Red Bull Racing to sell AlphaTauri for the cost $600-$800 or so million – Andretti would spend to get on the grid. Red Bull would be furious, but the other nine teams would (theoretically) be fine with this as that would mean Red Bull would lose a few advantages they naturally have with their B team around.

It would be horrible for AlphaTauri’s promptly laid-off employees and the old Minardi legacy would finally end in one the worst ways imaginable. It also wouldn’t help drivers as there goes two more slots on the grid and a third as a development driver that an 11th team would bring in.

Of course, there’s also the question of if Formula One Group could even force the sale of a team, especially one where the owner is perfectly fine legally and not cancelled, nor is the team in bad financial straits.

The third option is to, well, just approve Andretti as the 11th entry. This is not as complicated as it seems. The existing teams will yell and scream for a bit before agreeing to a new Concorde Agreement.

And if they try to escalate the situation and split off from both F1 and the FIA over this, sure. Go on ahead. Just make sure to ask the EUFA teams that tried to go into their own special club a couple of years ago.

The Super League lasted three days before some of the biggest teams in the world, teams far more valuable than any F1 team, felt the pressure and walked away. We’re talking names like Liverpool and Manchester United not even being able to do it, and yet figures like Zak Brown and Guenther Steiner would be able to hold firm? Give me a break.

Andretti will be in F1, barring a sudden disaster. It’s up to F1 if they want to take a spoon full of sugar with their medicine or not.

About the author

michaelfinley010

Michael has watched NASCAR for 20 years and regularly covered the sport from 2013-2021, and also formerly covered the SRX series from 2021-2023. He now covers the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and road course events in the NASCAR Cup Series.

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11 Comments
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Alex Curtis

I’m confused, you are actually going against the Andretti hatred coming from racer.com? Good job, thanks for taking time to break this down instead of just posting the same crap that Racer has.

JeffK

Finally someone comes to the defense of Andretti. I like F1 very much but they play to America so they can get those advertising $$ but yet Americans arent good enuff for an entry? Screw them. As long as ive watched F1 im dun if Andretti gets denied. Not gonna support a snobby self centered 2face sport

Rich Laub

They don’t get it the value the Andretti name would add to F1 plus GM and Cadillac!! Of I was Michael Andretti I would sue he meets all the boxes even the cash they charge to just apply something is wrong in F1 I think governments need to to investigate!! Because if it was average guys like us owning it they would be all over it just sayin

Dav_Daddy

F1 sure seems hell bent on squandering the golden chance they have of finally cracking the American market.

See what happens to their popularity when they pull this “we only want American money! Not filthy Americans in our sport.”. Add in the fact that the racing is boring as hell, and let’s be honest not even half the people attending these races realize that those aren’t IndyCars out there.

Joe S Johnson

And I know that this would probably never happen, but what if the United States said, ” NO ” to F/1 having Three Events Here, or Maybe having a Sir Charge on any Driver that wishes to Enter any Stateside Event.. I’m quite sure that Our Sanctioning Bodies could find something to really Stir the Pot….

Bobbykd

This article nails everything in a concise no fluff story. Andretti will be on the grid. The other teams are embarrassing themselves by denying the obvious.

Paul

I would imagine F1 would lose a large chunk of American fans if Andretti is denied…myself included

Rich Laub

There is an easy solution to this how about Michael Andretti/GM just sue !!! Also the other owners need to grow up !! Don’t they see having the Andretti name associated with F1 ONCE AGAIN would one in my opinion add value and it would definitely add more to the fan base!!! As far as Mr Gene Haas he should be helping Andretti get in after everything they put him through to get on the grid!! Also sir Gene Haas you should be more worried about SHR CUP !!! Considering the way its written you lost $1.2 BILLION SPONSOR plus you lost Amirolas sponsor Smithfield and stay out of the politics of F1 because I finding it amazing that you run this F1 Team a cup and xfinity team through your company Hass Automation!!! That company must make a hell of a lot of money!! Because you are putting out millions upon millions of dollars every year !!

Brian Himebaugh

I for one am glad that Andretti is putting the proverbial boot on the throat of F1!

Ecaro Modo

I think the FIA is trying to commit suicide. If they deny Andretti, they’ll lose nearly all of the USA fans (if they aren’t already turned off by all of the corrupt and ignorant decisions the FIA has made the last year or two.

TomBo

Can you blame them, they’re afraid of an American team showing up the establishment at the back of the grid! And then when they get into the top ten, they’ve kicked everyone down a notch! Well sorry, I’m with everyone else that says adios F1 if the Andretti team doesn’t get in!

This reminds me of two situations: #1 the very recent Nascar team that came to LeMans with the lowly Garage 56 ZL1 Camaro(really a Nascar with a Camaro body) and spanked many of the GT3 & GTE car teams in lap times! Haha…and weren’t they also beating some GT2 entries with car!!! Wonder if that team will be allowed to run next year? Pretty impressive for that lowly American engineering! #2 This also reminds me of the shenanguns played on the Andretti’s when they came to LeMans 1982 and the dirtbag officials told them 15 minutes before the race that their Mirage didn’t meet specs! Someones got some grudges or a lot of fear for the Andretti’s.

Last edited 6 months ago by TomBo
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