FIA president dismisses F1 team Andretti resistance: ‘It’s about money’

Michelle Foster
Mohammed Ben Sulayem on the grid with Michael Andretti.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem talks to Michael Andretti.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has accused the teams of greed as they continue to oppose Andretti-Cadillac’s arrival despite the candidate for the 11th spot on the grid ticking every one of the FIA’s blocks.

After months of due diligence, the FIA announced on Monday that Andretti-Cadillac could, at least from their side, become the 11th team on the Formula 1 grid.

Not only had the American team, led by former F1 driver Michael Andretti, ticked all the sporting boxes but they’d also met the financial criteria.

FIA: Promote motorsport, grow motorsport, and be fair

But that is just step one of the process as Andretti now have to get Formula One Management on board.

That is easier said than done with the majority of the teams opposed to an 11th outfit while F1 chief Stefano Domenicali also doesn’t see a reason to grow the grid.

Ben Sulayem, though, continues to advocate for it.

“The process was not easy but the due diligence was done,” the FIA president told Sky F1. “It was a big move for the FIA.

“We have 12 teams allowed to go on as you can see most of the circuits are up to more than 12. If you look, we have the Hollywood movie going on so we have an extra team anyway.

“It can only add to the sport. If you look at our side, as the FIA, what is our mission, areat is our objectives? Our mission is very clear, promote motorsport, grow motor,sport and be fair.

“Yes, there is the commercial side of it, which we do respect.” recommends

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Although the FIA have given Andretti-Cadillac the green light, the battle is by no means over as the American team still has to agree a commercial deal with Formula One Management.

And that means getting the existing teams on board despite Andretti’s arrival meaning less money for them as they’ll have to share the prize money 11 ways instead of the current 10-way split.

Money is what Ben Sulayem believes is behind the teams’ opposition.

“I believe it’s about money. I can’t think of anything. As I said before, it’s money to the team,” he said.

“With the cost cap, loo the how much it is worth, teams are worth billions some of them.

“To them, I hope… For us it’s the spirit of the sport, it’s sustaining motorsport, sustaining the business. To them, it is oney, and more money. We have nothing against this, it’s up to them.

“We asked the right questions to Cadillac, to Andretti, to all of them and then when they came back to us, just there was no way we can resist them because the team had already ticked all the boxes.

“It is good for the sport. I am actually confident that they will go through.”

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