Nervous wait for Andretti as FIA closes application process for new F1 team

Henry Valantine
Fastest lap award winner Zhou Guanyu in action at the FIA F1 Bahrain Grand Prix. March 2023

Zhou Guanyu in action at the Bahrain Grand Prix. March 2023

The FIA has officially closed its application process for prospective new Formula 1 teams to enter the sport, leaving a nervous wait for those to have submitted paperwork.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem announced an ‘Expressions of Interest’ process at the beginning of January for potential new teams to enter Formula 1 from 2025, with the potential for the grid to expand in the future.

Andretti Autosport have been the most vocal bid over time in terms of looking to enter the sport from 2025 onwards, with team boss Michael Andretti having recently opened a new global motorsport base for his existing teams in Indiana, with plans already in motion for a Formula 1 operation if accepted – and a title partnership with General Motors through Cadillac already confirmed.

Other prospective teams, such as two Asian hopefuls in LKY SUNZ and Panthera Team Asia are also thought to have thrown their hats into the ring, with LKY SUNZ chief executive Benjamin Durand having exclusively told at the beginning of May they were awaiting confirmation from the FIA on details surrounding the entry process.

Formula Equal, a potential team based on a platform to hire a diverse workforce headed up by former BAR chief executive Craig Pollock, funded by an unnamed “Gulf area country”, is also set to be under consideration.

But the time for applications has now passed, and motorsport’s governing body will assess the applicants on a case-by-case basis, though the FIA did not confirm exactly how many applications it had received.

“The deadline for applications for potential new entrants is now closed,” an FIA spokesperson told RACER.

“The FIA is in the process of an initial review of the applications received. There will not be any communications during this part of the process as the FIA engages with applicants in respect of confidentiality while it may [be] necessary to make clarifications with the potential entrants.” recommends

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The FIA and Formula 1 stated that they will have the ability to accept multiple new teams if they wish to do so, but there are multiple hurdles to clear if a new team is to appear on the grid.

First, a $200m entry fee to be distributed among the existing teams as per the current Concorde Agreement, though the massive increase in the sport’s value in recent years may push that price up further.

Multiple team principals have also spoken out against the possibility of new teams joining the grid, with Red Bull team boss Christian saying in Miami recently that it would be like “turkeys voting for Christmas” to bring an 11th team onto the grid, if it dilutes the income the current teams are enjoying.

When the FIA announced the application process itself earlier in the year, it revealed the criteria by which new teams would be assessed.

“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 FIA said.

“For the first time ever, any candidate would be required to address how it would manage the sustainability challenge and how it plans to achieve a net-zero CO2 impact by 2030. Any prospective F1 team would also need to illustrate how they intend to achieve a positive societal impact through its participation in the sport. This would help meet the mutual aims of the FIA and Formula One Management.

“The overall long-term interests of the championship, involving all stakeholders, will determine which candidates are selected together with the applicable regulations and governance arrangements.”