FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem wants to get an idea of who might be interested in getting into Formula 1. That should please self-proclaimed candidates like Andretti, and meet skepticism among the ten established teams.
Formula 1 is an exclusive club. Ten teams share the cake. In 2022, it was over a billion US dollars that owners Liberty Media distributed to them. In 2023 it should be even more money. And given the global boom in the premier class of motorsport, the trend is increasing. One or the other would like to participate, which would initially reduce the distribution to existing teams.
Accordingly, skepticism among them is great when new candidates register. The best example is Andretti. The US racing team would like to expand into Formula 1. But Andretti caused offense in the paddock with offensive public statements and criticism. Not only with the teams, but also with Formula 1 management. Some observers see the radiance of the name, others do not trust the US team to handle a project at Formula 1 level. For them, Andretti would not be an asset that would significantly increase the brand value and thus the income.
"Process of expressions of interest"
There should be other people interested in joining. And the FIA opens its door to them, at least a little. President Mohammed Ben Sulayem announced on Twitter that he had asked his team to start a "process of expressions of interest for prospective new teams". That sounds inviting at first, and interested parties like Andretti should hear it benevolently, but nothing is gained with it.
As the "BBC" reported in the old year, a businessman from Hong Kong is said to be flirting with entering Formula 1. We're talking about Calvin Lo, worth 1.7 billion (according to Forbes), who should consider starting a team from 2026 or joining an existing one. In this case, too, the question would arise as to what added value it could offer Formula 1. In addition, it is about the long-term stability of a project.
Formula 1 would certainly open the door to a major car manufacturer immediately. Because it significantly improves the prospect of increasing sales. And because it would most likely improve quality in the field. The established franchise system based on the US model should by no means be watered down by quantitative growth. With new private teams there would be more doubts about the quality.
Join existing F1 teams
The FIA cannot go it alone here. In cooperation with the Formula 1 management, you would first have to advertise new places in the field. Interested parties would have to be admitted and then go through the application process.And pay the stipulated 200 million US dollars if you get involved. One or two new teams would certainly be good for the driver market - and especially for promoting young talent. Because it increases the chance for talents to find a regular cockpit.
The hype surrounding Formula 1 and the capping of budgets make it attractive. You can calculate exactly what you are spending per season and meanwhile even generate a surplus if you finish high up in the world championship and have enough sponsors on board. The biggest hurdle is probably the infrastructure. Building a racing team factory out of the ground takes years and costs billions.
That's why interested parties are looking for partnerships. Andretti wanted clean, but flashed off. Instead, Audi buys into the Swiss racing team and comes with its own engine in 2026. Honda has also signed up for the new engine formula from 2026 to sit at the table at all meetings and further negotiations. The Japanese manufacturer will also look around at existing teams if they really want to get back into Formula 1 in full in 2026. Because it's the most effective way.