However, in a lengthy statement detailing why FOM did not feel Andretti justified a spot on the grid over the next few years, it was made clear that there was scope for it to grab the 11th slot from 2028.
Back in October, the FIA announced that, following an expression of interest request from prospective entrants, it was satisfied that Andretti’s technical capabilities were strong enough for it to justify an entry.
However, as part of a new team’s process that is laid down in the Concorde Agreement, Andretti required a commercial deal sorted with F1’s owners Liberty Media before it would be allowed to compete.
Getting such a deal across the line was never going to be easy, as F1 had made clear that it was lukewarm to the idea of expanding the grid unless it could be proved that a new entry would deliver a clear benefit.
Speaking about the decision-making process last summer, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said: “As we always said, we need to make sure that the decision is right for the business. And this is what I think is the duty of the FIA and us together, that has to be taken.”
Photo by: Andretti Autosport
Wind Tunnel Model in Toyota Cologne
Following months of deliberation and discussions with key stakeholders, F1 has concluded that it does not believe opening up the grid to Andretti is the right thing to do.
In the statement it said: “Our assessment process has established that the presence of an 11th team would not, on its own, provide value to the championship. The most significant way in which a new entrant would bring value is by being competitive. We do not believe that the applicant would be a competitive participant.”
It furthermore added that it felt having an extra team on the grid would put unnecessary financial strain on current race promoters.
“The addition of an 11th team would place an operational burden on race promoters, would subject some of them to significant costs, and would reduce the technical, operational and commercial spaces of the other competitors,” it added.
“We were not able to identify any material expected positive effect on CRH financial results, as a key indicator of the pure commercial value of the championship.”
Another key element behind F1’s stance is Andretti’s engine situation, with the squad required to take customer power units from 2025 or 2026 – a deal which may be forced on current manufacturers.
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images