Motor racing’s iconic Formula 1 (F1) series has rejected a bid by the US-based Andretti racing team to join the sport’s circuit before 2028.

In a lengthy statement yesterday, the sport’s commercial rightsholder Formula One Management said it had concluded that “the presence of an 11th team would not, on its own, provide value to the championship.”

It said: “The most significant way in which a new entrant would bring value is by being competitive. We do not believe that the applicant would be a competitive participant.

“The need for any new team to take a compulsory power unit supply, potentially over a period of several seasons, would be damaging to the prestige and standing of the championship.”

The rejection centers around the fact that should the Andretti team enter the sport in partnership with car brand Cadillac before 2028, it would require a customer engine supply from one of the sport’s existing manufacturers.

General Motors (GM), which owns Cadillac, has applied to become a power-unit manufacturer in F1 but only in 2028.

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By GlobalData

While the McLaren team currently uses a Mercedes engine, McLaren has not applied to become a power-unit manufacturer and F1 believes letting Andretti use an existing engine from a rival team just two years before producing its own risks breaking intellectual property law.

F1 Management said it would consider Andretti’s bid again if General Motors were to provide an engine, adding: “In this case, there would be additional factors to consider in respect of the value that the applicant would bring to the championship, in particular in respect of bringing a prestigious new OEM to the sport as a PU supplier.”

Other factors taken into consideration during F1 Management’s decision were the “operational burden[s] on race promoters, [which] would subject some to significant costs.”

In response to the decision, Andretti said: “Andretti Cadillac has reviewed the information Formula One Management Limited has shared and strongly disagrees with its contents.

“Andretti and Cadillac are two successful global motorsports organizations committed to placing a genuine American works team in F1, competing alongside the world's best.

“We are proud of the significant progress we have already made on developing a highly competitive car and power unit with an experienced team behind it, and our work continues at pace.”

Andretti’s bid to gain entry into F1 began last January, when the FIA governing body launched an application process for new teams to enter into F1 in 2025, 2026 (when new engine regulations take effect), or 2027, with Andretti Global, the parent company of Andretti Autosport, announcing it had teamed up with US car giant GM in a bid to enter F1 under the famous Cadillac brand.

Andretti Formula Racing then became the only applicant out of four to be put forward to the third and final stage of selection by the FIA in October, which involved gaining the approval from F1’s rightsholders.

However, the FIA’s move to add teams to the circuit is understood to have been done without consultation with F1 or its teams, further straining an already fractured relationship between them and FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

At the time, F1 and the existing 10 teams voiced their concern that another team would dilute their share of income without improving the sport’s overall revenue.

Under the existing agreement signed in 2020, the teams split the prize money awarded from F1’s revenue in 10 ways, meaning the addition of more teams could reduce their cut.

To mitigate any potential loss of earnings, new entrants are now required to pay a $200 million entrance fee, which will be split among the other teams.

Andretti has previously said he is prepared to pay the $200 million fee to get his F1 operation up and running. Still, other team principals 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.

F1's statement, however, did not mention consulting the existing teams in its assessment of Andretti's bid, or a recognition of their position.