The FIA motorsport governing body has officially launched an application process for new teams to join the prestigious Formula 1 (F1) championship from 2025.
In a statement, the FIA said it would evaluate the potential of new teams based on “rigorous financial and technical analysis”, as well as “sustainability and positive society impact criteria.”
It said: “The FIA welcomes interest from entities with a serious intent to enter the FIA Formula One World Championship. The high level of interest from a number of potential candidates is further proof of the popularity and growth of the Championship.
“All applicants will undergo thorough due diligence. The assessment of each application will cover in particular the technical capabilities and resources of the applicant team, 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.”
The series’ field has comprised 10 outfits since the end of 2016 when Manor pulled out of the competition.
The current 12-team cap on the sport means there can only be two successful applicants at this point, who will have the option of joining in 2025, or 2026, when new engine regulations will come into action, or 2027.
The process will be open until April 30, with any decisions being made by June 30.
However, the application process comes amid an ongoing public dispute between FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem and representatives of F1 teams over terms for the championship’s grid to be expanded.
Ben Sulayem’s announcement that the FIA was evaluating the process of allowing new applications to join the 10 squads last month was met with a lukewarm response from F1 and most member teams due to his failure to acknowledge that commercial rights holder Liberty Media and the teams must also agree to any new entrants.
In response, the FIA have included a statement in their documentation acknowledging the F1 and the teams remain the ultimate decision-makers even if a potential new entrant meets the FIA’s requirements
It said: “For the avoidance of doubt, no new applicant has an automatic right of entry to the championship and the maximum number of teams competing in the championship up to and including the 2025 season is capped at 12.
“Existing F1 teams will be given priority over new applicants. In the event that no applicant is considered suitable by the FIA and/or by the F1 Commercial Rights Holder, no new F1 team(s) will be selected.”
Last month’s statement saw Andretti Global, which has been vocal about its wish to join their series, announce its partnership with Cadillac with a view to entering F1.
Andretti already has teams competing in IndyCar, Formula E, and Extreme E, and has recently started building a new headquarters in Indiana, which is set to open in 2025.
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.
On top of getting the approval of Liberty Media and the F1 teams, new entrants will need to overcome another potential hurdle.
Under the existing Concorde Agreement signed in 2020, the teams agreed to split the prize money awarded from F1’s revenue’s 10 ways, meaning the addition of extra 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, however.
Michael Andretti, Andretti Global’s team owner, has previously said he is prepared to pay the $200 million fee to get his F1 operation up and running, but other team principles have remained skeptical that the amount will make up for the potential loss of revenue.
Last year, former Haas F1 chief Gunther Steiner said: “The dilution fund was set a few years ago when the value of F1 was different. I think one of the questions will be, should we readjust it to the current market rate, which is a lot more than that. But I think that’s a very difficult process to do.”
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, meanwhile, said new teams would have to prove they could be “accretive” to the value of F1, adding: “if a team comes in, how can you demonstrate that you’re bringing in more money than it’s actually costing? Because the 11th team means a 10% dilution for everybody else.”
Only one new team has entered F1 in the previous ten years – Haas, which joined the world championship in 2016. Before that, F1 saw four new teams granted permission to enter in the same season in 2010 including Virgin, Lotus, HRT, and USF1.
However, USF1 failed to appear on the grid, and none of the other three teams survived beyond 2017.
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