The next car manufacturer wants to jump on the Formula 1 train. US manufacturer Cadillac intends to work hand in hand with the Andretti racing team on a project for the highest league of motorsport – but without building its own power unit. If approved, Formula 1 would have a second US team after Haas.
Formula 1 is currently experiencing a hype that has probably never been seen since it was founded in 1950. The US market in particular is booming. In 2023, the pinnacle of motorsport will be contesting three races in the USA: in Austin, Miami and in the gambling metropolis of Las Vegas. Thanks to Netflix (Drive to survive), a young US audience in particular has discovered Formula 1 and its numerous characters for themselves.
US car manufacturers also want to jump on this train. Rumor has it that Ford could team up with Red Bull in 2026. General Motors is already one step further. At least as far as the public announcements are concerned. The group, headquartered in Detroit, has decided to enter Formula 1. For this one would send the noble brand Cadillac into the race and work together with Andretti. The US manufacturer announced this on Thursday (January 5).
The first more intensive talks were held as early as autumn 2022, and in December the new project was apparently approved in the GM command center. The growing popularity of the racing series in the USA and worldwide, the budget cap with plannable expenses per season and the new Formula 1 engine regulations from 2026 make entry attractive. The electric share of the total output is to be increased to around 50 percent. This, in combination with CO2-neutral petrol, ensures more sustainable racing that manufacturers can sell better. GM wants to convert its vehicle fleet to electric cars by 2035.
Andretti with Cadillac
You wouldn't build your own engine, but buy the power unit from another manufacturer/supplier. There should already be a provisional agreement on this. The assumption is that it is Renault. Cadillac has already found a response team. You are joining forces with a big name in US racing. Cadillac and Andretti are looking to work together and have announced their intention to join forces should Formula 1 give them the go-ahead.
"We thank Mohammed Ben Sulayem for initiating an expression of interest process. Today we want to officially confirm our intention to enter F1," announced Michael Andretti and GM President Mark Reuss together. A few days ago, the FIA President opened the door to interested new teams.
For Andretti, the joint announcement is a big step towards the dream of moving up to Formula 1. As a private team, Andretti has always been blocked by Formula 1 management and most other teams.With a manufacturer as the driving force, the prerequisites could change. That has a different external effect - and should contribute to the value of Formula 1.
However, it is far from certain that all parties involved will agree and whether Cadillac-Andretti will actually be allowed to enter. You first have to go through an official application process. With the early announcement, the Formula 1 management of rights holder Liberty Media seems to have been taken by surprise.
Andretti leans out of the window: "FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has promised us his support. I'm optimistic that it will work. After all, Formula 1 is still an FIA racing series. From our point of view, we meet all the requirements. With GM, we have one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world and a lot of supporters on board," says Michael Andretti.
Should the team be selected, they want to compete in Formula 1 with at least one American driver as soon as possible. The name Colton Herta keeps coming up. The Californian, after Alpha Tauri had put out feelers, is currently active for Andretti in the IndyCar series. A timetable for entry is not yet known. The 2026 season with the new engine regulations would be logical. "We now have to wait and see how long the approval process will take," says Andretti.
US dream team for Formula 1?
With the support of GM/Cadillac, it is at least ensured that the project is on solid ground: financially, as well as in terms of personnel and technology. A long-term future would thus be secured. General Motors would crown its motorsport offensive with the Formula 1 project. In the US IMSA series, Cadillac is on the road with a prototype (GTP/LMDh class). They also want to turn up at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans. At the same time, Cadillac is contesting the entire season in the Sports Car World Championship (WEC) with one car.
With its subsidiary Chevrolet, GM is one of two engine manufacturers in the IndyCar series. However, the new F1 partner Andretti drives there with Honda engines. GM is also represented in GT racing: Chevrolet is currently building a new GT3 racing car based on the Corvette C8 mid-engine sports car. The Chevrolet Camaro also plays in NASCAR.
Andretti has already started recruiting engineers from Formula 1. A technical director has also been hired. The name will be revealed at a later date. The US team has many branches in motorsport. In addition to the IndyCar, Andretti is represented in Formula E (with Porsche Powertrain), Extreme E, IMSA and the Australian Supercars.
GM confirmed that the exchange with Andretti has been going on for five months: "We have always been interested in Formula 1. But the framework conditions were never really right for us to actually get involved as a brand.Now Michael Andretti approached us. The talks went so well that we now want to take this step together," says Reuss.
The motorsport base of the new Andretti team would be set up in their home country, the USA. But for the operations team, there should be a satellite base in England - just like Haas does. Other Andretti motorsport programs in Europe are also to operate from there.
The new engine formula from 2026 is already pulling Audi into the Champions League of motorsport. The German premium manufacturer has its place in the field in contrast to the US duo already safe.In addition to Cadillac-Andretti, Ford and Hyundai are said to be interested in getting started.Both are much more reserved.F1 management likes it better when interested parties pull the strings quietly in the background.Honda has signed up pro forma to sit at the table in further negotiations on the powertrain of the future