Andretti proposed Formula 1 team ‘blackballed’ but prospects still bright

Andretti proposed Formula 1 team ‘blackballed’ but prospects still brightMichael and his father Mario are pictured at an IndyCar race in 2023. The team hopes to secure a Formula 1 bid and enter the series in 2026 or 2027. (Andretti Photo)

By Greg Zyla —

This week’s subject, thanks to me being an enthusiastic follower and numerous letters from readers requesting info, is Formula 1 and the goal of Michael Andretti and his Andretti Global team trying to join the exclusive series.

Thanks to excellent live coverage on ESPN and the current Formula 1 Netflix series attracting new fans, F1 is growing by leaps and bounds.

Formula 1 races the world, visiting 21 countries and featuring 24 races. There are currently 10 two car teams that compete, and to even be considered to join the Formula 1 series costs tons of money and the usual political “goings on” that dictate success or failure.

I view Formula 1 as the “Caviar and Champaign” race series, followed by IndyCar’s “wine and cheese” persona, and then NASCAR’s “beers and brats” character. 

As for Michael Andretti, he changed the name of his motorsport business to Andretti Global recently and applied to F1 for a new team acceptance to become the 11th current two-car team to race the world. Long story short, he was blackballed even though his father, Mario, is a past F1 champion in 1978, and Michael himself drove F1 for one year in 1993. His bid to join F1 for 2025 was snubbed, even though he was bringing Cadillac along as an engine supplier.

Andretti proposed Formula 1 team ‘blackballed’ but prospects still bright

A Saun Bull Design rendering of what the Andretti World Formula 1 cars would have looked like if they had been okayed for the 2025 season. (Andretti World)

To further explain, each team must build its own chassis, and then either build its own engines / power units via a sponsoring engine supplier (like Andretti’s proposed Cadillac), or enter an agreement to lease engines from one of the approved Formula 1 engine builders. In the case of the only current American team in F1 run by Gene Haas, they rely on Ferrari power units.

According to research reports I’ve been compiling from Racer magazine, and, when a new team hopes to join F1 the financial implications current teams must agree to is related to the distribution of prize money. Had Andretti World’s team been accepted, the prize money would be shared among 11 teams instead of 10.

To address this loss of cash flow to the current 10 teams, F1 and its management arm came up with what is called an “anti-dilution fund” that requires any new entrant team pay a fee, which is currently set at $200 million, and with each of the 10 current teams receiving $20 million each to offset the monies “lost” if the field goes to 11 teams instead of 10. The anti-dilution fee of a $200 million application fee is also viewed to ensure that any new entrant has the financial stability and commitment required to compete in the highest end of motorsports.

Andretti proposed Formula 1 team ‘blackballed’ but prospects still bright

This 1978 Lotus 79 is a copy of the car Mario Andretti drove to victory and won the 1978 World Driving Championship. It was photographed at Watkins Glen two years ago as part of the Vintage Grand Prix weekend. (Greg Zyla photo)

Further, the current teams are concerned about the overall value of their franchises being affected negatively by the entry of Andretti World. In my opinion, and stressing the fact that there are now three U.S. Grands Prix events (Austin, Texas; Miami, Florida; and Las Vegas, Nevada), the addition of the Andretti team would be a major plus to the series. 

Notably, discussions are ongoing about increasing the anti-dilution fee to ensure that the monetary interests of the existing teams are adequately protected, and I heard as high as $600 million a possibility.

However, this is not the application fee itself, but a fee designed to protect the value of the existing teams. Michael Andretti’s Andretti Global cleared the first hurdle to join Formula 1 as an 11th team, but the exact fee they might need to pay is not specified in the research I did on this subject, so the final fee may differ.

In establishing a brand-new Formula 1 team, the overseeing FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile sanctioning arm) has set out a list of requirements that prospective entrants like Andretti must meet. Included are, but are not limited to the following.

1. Technical Ability and Resources: The team must demonstrate they have the technical capability and resources necessary to compete.

2. Financial Stability: The team must show they can raise and maintain sufficient funding to allow participation at a competitive level.

3. Compliance with Regulations: The team must be able to meet and comply with the F1 Sporting, Technical, and Financial Regulations.

4. Detailed Business Plan: A comprehensive business plan, including financial projections for the first five years, is required.

5. Experience in Motorsport: The team should have experience and capabilities in the automobile and/or motorsport sector.

6. Fit and Proper Persons: The team and individuals involved in ownership, control, or management must be fit and proper people.

7. Sustainability and Societal Benefit: Considerations of sustainability, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), and societal benefit are required.

8. Value to the Championship: The FIA will assess the value that the candidate may bring to the Championship.

Andretti proposed Formula 1 team ‘blackballed’ but prospects still bright

Michael Andretti won a total of 42 IndyCar races and one CART championship in 1991. He is respected as one of the most successful drivers in the history of American open-wheel racing. (Indianapolis Speedway photo)

These criteria are part of a rigorous selection process to ensure that any new team is prepared for the challenges of competing in the highest tier of motorsports. 

Michael Andretti’s bid to enter a new team into Formula 1 was not successful, as some team owners in Formula 1 felt Andretti Global did not meet the criteria to be the 11th team on the grid. Some of the reasons cited included concerns about the team’s potential competitiveness, the fact that Cadillac engines would not appear initially, the value it would bring to the series, and challenges related to entering the sport within the next two years. 

In my opinion, it all came down to politics and money, as a new 11th two-car team would result in the current 10 teams sharing the money with the new Andretti operation. Allegedly, the 10 current teams found at least two or three teams that didn’t give the okay for a big name like Andretti to join the series.

Additionally, if Gene Haas was given the okay on the strength of his worldwide Haas Automation popularity, the Andretti team should have received the same “yes” based on its legendary motor sporting prowess and the fact that a second American team would enhance the series, big-time. Haas team has been a back marker team every year, while I would bet that Michael Andretti’s team would be a much stronger team right out of the box.

Andretti proposed Formula 1 team ‘blackballed’ but prospects still bright

Andretti Global, the parent company of Andretti Autosport, broke ground on its new 575,000-square foot global racing and technology headquarters in Fishers, Indiana. The new facility will serve as the headquarters of day-to-day operations for Andretti’s current NTT IndyCar Series, INDY NXT (formerly Indy Lights) and IMSA programs, global commercial functions of Andretti Formula E and Andretti Extreme E and the advanced research and development business of Andretti Technologies. Hopefully, they add Formula 1 to its racing series endeavors. (Andretti photo)

In summary, Michael Andretti has not given up on his ambition to join Formula 1. His Andretti Global did clear the initial FIA Expansion team approval. This indicates Andretti’s bid is still moving forward through the necessary steps to be that 11th team.

As explained above, this overall process necessitates approval from numerous players, and the political aspect of this request is clear. Andretti is actively engaged in not quitting his quest, and I’m pulling for the team to join the F1 starting grid by 2027.

Can they ban the Andretti Team again when teams vote to allow an 11th team?


If they do blackball a second time, it sure gives a black eye to the entire F1 series during this time of unprecedented growth. Andretti Global has made a statement indicating that they are still moving forward with their efforts to enter Formula 1. Despite the setback of being rejected for the 2025 season, they remain committed to joining the F1 grid.

Let’s hope when it comes time for the team voting again that they make the right decision and welcome Andretti World into Formula 1.

(Greg Zyla is a syndicated auto columnist who welcomes reader interaction on collector cars, auto nostalgia and motorsports at or at Roosevelt St., Sayre, Pa. 18840.)

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