FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has issued a statement expressing his surprise at “some adverse reaction” towards the Andretti Cadillac Formula 1 project.
Andretti’s tie-in with General Motors for a prospective Cadillac-badged F1 entry was made official on Thursday, just under a week after Ben Sulayem said there would be a call by the championship’s governing/rulemaking body the FIA for “expressions of interests for prospective new teams” to join grand prix racing.
Michael Andretti has long been vocal in his desire to enter F1, but the grand prix paddock’s reaction to such a prospect proved mixed, with some teams wary of diluting the prize money and various commercial opportunities through the addition of an 11th entry.
The Cadillac announcement has imbued Andretti’s bid with an extra financial credibility and seems to fit F1’s preference that any new entrant be a major manufacturer – although under the current plan the team would use a customer engine, with hints but no firm commitment from GM towards the idea of building a power unit of its own in the future.
“There is great interest in the F1 project at this time with a number of conversations continuing that are not as visible as others,” was F1’s response to the Andretti Cadillac news.
“We all want to ensure the championship remains credible and stable and any new entrant request will be assessed on criteria to meet those objectives by all the relevant stakeholders.
“Any new entrant request requires the agreement of both F1 and the FIA.”
It has widely been perceived as a fairly reserved statement – and Ben Sulayem’s latest Tweet can be seen as something of a counterpoint, even though he did not specify what he was responding to.
— Mohammed Ben Sulayem (@Ben_Sulayem) January 8, 2023
“It is surprising that there has been some adverse reaction to the Cadillac and Andretti news,” he wrote.
“The FIA has accepted the entries of smaller, successful organisations in recent years.
“We should be encouraging prospective F1 entries from global manufacturers like GM and thoroughbred races like Andretti and others.
“Interest from teams in grown markets adds diversity and broadens F1’s appeal.”