Formula 1 Racing

Was F1’s assessment of Andretti’s shortcomings fair?

Was F1's assessment of Andretti's shortcomings fair?

FOM’s statement on Wednesday afternoon was as detailed as it was blunt about what it felt were the Andretti Cadillac bid’s shortcomings.

It felt there was little chance Michael Andretti’s team would reach an acceptable level, in which case it didn’t see any added commercial value in having it on the grid, famous name or not.

It also dismissed the idea of Andretti entering in 2025, therefore having to build cars both for this regulations cycle and the 2026 reset within two seasons, as naive.

Meanwhile, the FIA responded with a non-committal statement saying it is “engaging in dialogue to determine the next steps”.

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Andretti can’t be competitive

FOM’s main thrust is that an 11th team would not bring added value to F1 nor raise significant interest unless it were to reach a degree of success, such as vying for podiums in the mid-term.

It is clear that if this is what it takes to be accepted, joining F1 is a non-starter for any hopeful entrant. In recent history, only Haas has ‘successfully’ survived as a new team, but it has yet to improve on its best grand prix result of fourth in 2018’s Austrian Grand Prix, and it finished dead last in 2023’s constructors’ standings.

Haas did finish sixth and fifth in its first two grand prix in 2016 but did so with a much more off-the-shelf business model that would now no longer be admitted. The gaps between the existing 10 teams have also decreased dramatically, making for a much more competitive barrier to entry.

Other than that, there haven’t been any true start-up teams in the modern era that have had both longevity and success, as all the heavy hitters have either been in F1 for decades or taken over existing outfits.

With F1 team values skyrocketing thanks to the budget cap and the series’ raised profile, the window for taking over an existing team has all but closed in this seller’s market.

And while Andretti Cadillac looked better poised than any potential entrant to break that spell, it would have been unrealistic to expect great things from the outfit within the first three seasons.

Andretti doesn’t raise interest unless it’s competitive

And if Andretti Cadillac can’t fight for podiums, FOM argues it therefore won’t bring enough value to justify an extra spot on the grid and upset the apple cart, given all the commercial implications that come with accepting an 11th team.

Out of all the arguments, this is perhaps the hardest to digest. After all, wasn’t Liberty…

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