Formula 1 just rejected Andretti Formula Racing’s application to participate in the 2025 FIA Formula One World Championship.
Yep, that really just happened, and the statement from Formula 1 about why it’s doing so is scathing, insulting, brutal and just flat-out contradictory in some ways. Speaking as a longtime fan of F1 and racing in general, it’s a gobsmacking paper to read. And it’s also a slap in the face to the millions of new fans the sport’s recently picked up in America. One of the most renowned names and faces in motorsport history, Andretti, apparently isn’t good enough for F1.
Before getting too far into the weeds, though, we’ll note at the top that Formula 1 has left the door open for an Andretti entry in 2028. Why? That’s when General Motors/Cadillac is planning on entering the equation as a power unit supplier for the potential Andretti team. Of course, there’s no guarantee that Formula 1 would approve an Andretti-Cadillac entry when the time comes, but it does suggest that such an entry would be looked at more favorably than what Andretti’s put forth now.
With that out of the way, let’s go through and analyze the reasons for why Andretti is being rejected today.
Formula 1 doesn’t believe that the addition of an 11th team would add value and says, “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.”
Now that’s insulting. Formula 1 is an extremely difficult sport to compete in, but to suggest Andretti is incapable of success or even competitiveness just sounds naive. Hell, Formula 1 should take a look at its current 20-car grid and start lopping off other teams, because we could name a number of them that have been extremely uncompetitive over the past number of years. Not as though it should sway the deal, but the Andretti name has more F1 World Championships (Mario Andretti won it in 1978) than some teams on the grid today. Not to mention, Andretti’s had massive success in other racing series.
On the counter, Formula 1 does have a point when you take a step back and look at the regulations schedule over the next several years. By entering in 2025, Andretti would need to design a car for today’s regulations and then design an entirely different car for the following 2026 season. Andretti has claimed it can do that, but F1 isn’t so sure. And, admittedly, it does sound a little silly on the face of it to invest so heavily in one car for one set of regulations only to rip it all up and start from scratch just one year later. But again, if Formula 1 is concerned about the competitiveness of the car, I’ll point out once more that there will undoubtedly be other teams well off the pace in the 2025 season. Plus, Andretti could learn a lot in 2025 and apply those learnings and experiences to come out in 2026 as an even more competitive team with the new regulations.
Formula 1’s next point that “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” is another highly questionable statement. It’s been rumored that Andretti would use Renault’s power unit for its first few years before transitioning to the GM power unit once that’s ready in 2028. I’m not sure what’s so terribly wrong with this order of events. Plenty of teams use power units from the few engine suppliers that are on the grid, and the Renault power unit was perfectly acceptable for Formula 1 last year. Haas gets its engines from Ferrari. Williams uses the Mercedes power unit. Why does Andretti get punished for potentially taking the Renault engine?
“While the Andretti name carries some recognition for F1 fans, our research indicates that F1 would bring value to the Andretti brand rather than the other way around,” Formula 1 says.
I’ll just leave that one at LOL. But seriously? And how does the name Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber bring value to the brand of Formula 1? Or perhaps Visa CashApp RB Formula One Team? Is that another one with big name recognition? Maybe Andretti should rebrand to “MasterCard McDonalds Team F1.” That ought to do the trick.
Formula 1 goes on to say that the addition of an 11th team “would place an operational burden on race promoters, would subject some of them to significant costs, and would reduce the technical, operational and commercial spaces of the other competitors.” Sure, I guess they’d need to sort out the logistics of how to fit another team into the paddock. But Formula 1 has had many more than 10 teams in the past, and I’m sure the organization could figure it out today. And maybe Haas or Alpine will see their merchandise sales dip a tiny bit when folks learn they can rep Andretti instead. The horror!
I’ll also point out here that Formula 1 explicitly states “our assessment did not involve any consultation with the current F1 teams.” That said, current teams have spoken up loud and clear about their position in the past, and their financial concerns about another team entering the paddock are public knowledge. Michael Andretti (team founder) claims that those teams are “very greedy” and that “it’s all about the money.”
The last big statement from Formula 1 says that “on the basis of the application as it stands, we do not believe that the Applicant has shown that it would add value to the Championship.”
That’s just brutal. And it feels extremely shortsighted given F1’s recent surge in popularity here in America. Haas might be an American team, it hasn’t exactly given Americans a winning car to cheer for. If there’s going to be an American entry into F1 that stands a chance at success, this one from Andretti is probably it.
Rejecting Andretti’s entry at this point in time feels flat-out insulting to all those newly-minted American fans who might be looking for a hometown team to cheer on, especially now that there are so many races in the U.S. I, for one, am deeply disappointed we won’t see Andretti on the grid anytime soon and am only hoping that Formula 1 flips course for 2028 when the GM powertrain is on the table.