Andretti’s bid for a new Formula 1 entry has been approved by the FIA but still needs to clear “commercial discussions” with F1 itself to get on the grid.
The American racing organisation has teamed up with General Motors and its Cadillac brand with an ambitious intention of racing in F1 in 2025.
Its bid, under the name Andretti Formula Racing LLC, is the only candidate of four final applicants to have met the FIA’s “stringent criteria” and be put forward to the final phase of the application process.
However, this is likely to be the most complicated yet.
While the FIA’s due diligence process is a rigorous assessment of each applicant’s sporting, technical and financial analysis, the final phase essentially boils down to whether Andretti can convince the commercial rights holder to drop an objection it has had for a very long time.
F1 has been lukewarm, at best, regarding the prospect of a new team joining the grid and has the ability to refuse a commercial agreement, even though it would be controversial and open to a potential legal challenge.
That background and the fact this is an ongoing process explains why F1’s response to the FIA announcement was only a simple and borderline forced acknowledgement: “We note the FIA’s conclusions in relation to the first and second phases of their process and will now conduct our own assessment of the merits of the remaining application.”
The application process is split into three broad phases. The first is the initial call for expressions of interest, which the FIA says attracted “numerous enquiries”.
This was whittled down to four applicants that progressed to the second phase, which the FIA called “a robust process of due diligence during which the applicants were assessed on the sporting and technical ability, the ability of the team to raise and maintain sufficient funding to allow participation in the championship at a competitive level and the team’s experience and human resources.”
Andretti issued a statement saying it was "honoured" to have got FIA approval and 'appreciated' the governing body's "rigorous, transparent and complete evaluation process".
It added: "We feel strongly that Andretti Cadillac’s deep racing competencies and the technological advancements that come from racing will benefit our customers while heightening enthusiasm for F1, globally.
"We look forward to engaging with all of the stakeholders in Formula 1 as we continue our planning to join the grid as soon as possible."
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem says the governing body has approved an entry that has “satisfied the set criteria and illustrated that they would add value to the sport”.
He has also stated that by doing so, “the FIA is acting in accordance with EU directives on motorsport participation and development”.
The completion of the FIA's part in this process, which it started back in February despite F1's obvious reticence, does not mean the end is in sight.
It is understood it could take months for F1's own assessment to be carried out.