Andretti bid at centre of brewing F1 v FIA president power struggle – report

Jamie Woodhouse
Mohammed Ben Sulayem and Stefano Domenicali shake hands in Hungary.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem and Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali shake hands.

According to a report, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem is growing “increasingly bothered” with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali being perceived as the boss, and so could use Andretti to hit back.

Clashes between the Formula 1 and FIA bosses have not been uncommon, with a rumoured F1 sale price and the prospect of new teams joining the series both serving as subjects which Ben Sulayem and Formula 1 had not always seen eye-to-eye on.

But, such clashes had fizzled out in recent months after Ben Sulayem stepped back from day-to-day running of the FIA’s Formula 1 business. Could that peace though be coming to an end?

FIA president could use Andretti to show authority

After the FIA opened an ‘Expressions of Interest’ process for new teams to join the Formula 1 grid, various potential suitors came forward, with the deadline having now passed and the submitted applications under consideration.

The most well-publicised bid is that of Andretti Autosport alongside General Motors, and this is the one which, as per Auto Motor und Sport, is set to receive the green light from the FIA, with Andretti planning to join the grid as soon as 2025.

Ben Sulayem has been vocal in the past on his support for the Andretti bid, expressing surprise at the opposition existing throughout much of the grid, this largely boiling down to money with teams reluctant to sacrifice on their share of the booming F1 prize pot, while also arguing that the $200 million anti-dilution fee for a new team is not enough.

And the report suggests that Ben Sulayem could now look to use the Andretti bid, which the majority of fans seem to support, to stake his own claim to be perceived as the F1 authority figure over Domenicali, with the FIA’s current reputation being for ‘incomprehensible regulations, too many penalties and too long decision-making processes’, a stark contrast to all the plaudits coming the way of Formula 1.

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Hitech also in the mix for an F1 spot

With Auto Motor und Sport claiming four teams have submitted bids to join the F1 grid, the report states that those prospective outfits are Andretti, Hitech Grand Prix, the Hong Kong investor-backed ‘Lucky Sun’ and Rodin Motorsport, funded by Australian billionaire David Dicker.

Auto Motor und Sport claim that Hitech, a familiar name on the junior racing scene, could also be approved to join the grid, but concerns linger that former owner Dmitry Mazepin, father of ex-Haas driver Nikita Mazepin, could still be involved via the recent investment of Kazakh billionaire Vladimir Kim into the team.

All four outfits are said to have approached Alpine in regards to a potential chassis partnership and use of the Renault power unit, with the FIA set to complete their process by the end of July.

Read next: Hitech GP launch exciting F1 2026 bid backed by Kazakh billionaire