F1 teams pushing to make it even harder for new teams to join – report

Michelle Foster
The starting grid with Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez on the front row. Belgium August 2022

The starting grid for the grand prix with Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez on the front row. Belgium August 2022

Formula 1’s existing 10 teams are reportedly pushing for a massive increase in the sport’s entry fee, said to be wanting that to go up from $200 million to $600m.

Formula 1 has what is known as the ‘anti-dilution fund’, money that is payable by all new teams.

It is designed to compensate the existing teams for loss of earnings under F1’s newest Concorde Agreement which rewards all the teams, rather than only those that finish inside the top 10 as was the rule in yesteryear.

At present the money the teams receive is divided by 10 but any new teams mean it would be split between 11 or even 12, the number of teams that the FIA is pushing for.

But in what could be seen as a bid to keep the number down to 10, most notably blocking Michael Andretti and his recent link-up with General Motors from a spot on the grid, the teams are said to be wanting the anti-dilution fund fee to increase from the current $200m to $600m.

According to The Race, ‘with teams wary of suffering any financial loss should the grid get bigger it has been suggested that the anti-dilution fund enshrined in the Concorde Agreement signed in 2020 – which runs from 2021-2025 – should be significantly increased.

‘Now, just as the FIA prepares to open the expressions of interest process and the likes of Andretti ready a formal bid, there is talk of raising the anti-dilution fund to as much as $600m as part of the new Concorde Agreement that needs to be agreed for 2026 onwards.

‘In arguing for this figure, multiple sources drew comparisons to the cost of getting new franchises in US competitions like Major League Soccer ($325m) and the National Hockey League ($650m).

‘They also contend it would reflect how much team values have rapidly increased.’

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Business or greed?

Michael Andretti has hit out at the Formula 1 teams, calling them “greedy” in a recent interview with Forbes.

“It’s all about money,” said the American team owner. “It’s all about greed and looking at themselves and not looking at what is best for the overall growth of the series.”

But is it greed or just good business to keep someone of Andretti’s calibre off the grid?

One would be hard-pressed to imagine Andretti Autosport finishing P11 in the Constructors’ Championship even in their first season in Formula 1. And they’ll only get better in the years that follow. If there’s one thing Andretti knows, it’s motor racing.

That means the team that currently gets the least prize money will get even less in the years to come. So not only will the prize money be divided by 11 instead of 10, the team that used to finish P10 – ie Williams in recent years – will now be P11 and that means less of less.

One can understand why the existing teams don’t want that although it is short-sighted on their part if they consider Formula 1 as a whole, and not their just their own interests.

At a time when Formula 1 is taking off in America, surely another American team – and one chasing success – would be great for the sport. More fans, more sponsors, a bigger prize money pot.

It would be great the sport, but bad for Andretti’s rivals…which is why we have such a tense stand-off between the FIA, F1 and the existing 10 teams.