Andretti Global, the parent company of Andretti Autosport, the racing team of former top American driver Michael Andretti, has teamed up with US car giant General Motors (GM) in a bid to enter the prestigious Formula 1 (F1) championship under the famous Cadillac brand.
Andretti has been vocal in lobbying the FIA governing body to expand the 20-car grid and has remained steadfast in his desire to enter F1 despite failing to buy into the Sauber-run Alfa Romeo entry in 2021.
He already has teams competing in IndyCar, Formula E, and Extreme E, and has recently started building a new team headquarters in Indiana, which is set to open in 2025.
Now, in the wake of FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem announcing plans to allow prospective new teams to register their interest in joining the motor racing series, a partnership between one of America’s most successful racing teams and its biggest car maker has been announced.
Under the partnership, the new Andretti Cadillac Racing team will operate out of Andretti's new Indiana facility, with a support facility in the UK. GM, meanwhile, will be the team’s engine and manufacture partner, with its Cadillac brand forming part of the entry.
Cadillac already has entries in the WEC and IMSA endurance racing categories.
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In a joint statement, the pair said the new team will submit an Expression of Interest when the FIA opens the formal process, requesting its entry as soon as practical. They added they would look to have at least one American driver.
Andretti, Andretti Global’s chairman and chief executive, said: “We are continuing to grow Andretti Global and its family of racing teams and always have our eyes on what’s next.
“I feel that we are well suited to be a new team for F1 and can bring value to the series and our partners, and excitement for the fans.
“I’m proud to have GM and Cadillac alongside us as we pursue this goal. GM and Andretti share a legacy born out of the love of racing.
“We now have the opportunity to combine our motorsport passions and dedication to innovation to build a true American F1 bid.”
Commenting on the partnership Sulayem said: “I welcome the news of the Cadillac and Andretti partnership and the F1 looks forward to further discussions on the FIA World Championship Expressions of Interest process.”
The F1 has expanded its presence in the US since US-based Liberty Media took over commercial rights at the start of the 2017 season, adding the Miami Grand Prix to the calendar last year and the Las Vegas Grand Prix, which will debut this year.
The series currently has one American team competing in Haas.
On top of passing the FIA’s selection process, new entrants will need to overcome several hurdles, including a $200 million entrance fee required until the series’ Concord Agreement.
Under the existing agreement signed in 2020, the teams split the prize money awarded from F1’s revenue’s 10 ways, meaning the addition of more teams could reduce their cut.
A dilution fee of $200 million, to be paid by any new entrant and split among the other teams, was written into the Concorde Agreement to combat any potential loss of earnings.
Andretti has previously said he is prepared to pay the $200 million fee to get his F1 operation up and running. Still, other team principles have remained skeptical that the amount will make up for the potential loss of revenue, leading to some questioning if the amount should increase to meet the current market rate.
Commercial rights holders F1 will also have to approve the new entry.
In a statement, F1 said: "There is great interest in the F1 project at this time, with a number of conversations continuing that are not as visible as others.
"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."
Chinese billionaire Calvin Lo said he is also exploring the possibility of forming a new team to enter F1 in 2026. Last August, the Hong Kong-based entrepreneur told Reuters the series’ growth in the last few years had caught Asian investors’ attention and opportunities in the sports were being considered.
It is understood that the earliest teams will be able to enter the series will be in 2026. If Andretti’s bid is successful, the team will join the Alfa Romeo/Sauber team recently purchased by Audi as entrants in 2026.
F1 will introduce a new engine formula in 2026, retaining turbo hybrid engines but significantly increasing the proportion of power produced by the electrical part of the engine and using synthetic, fully sustainable fuels.
Audi is currently developing a new engine with the new formula for its formal entry in 2026 and is already in the process of taking over Sauber.
It has hired former McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl as the team’s new chief executive, who is responsible for getting the team ready for their entry in four years.
The 2023 F1 season starts on March 5 in Bahrain.