Helmut Marko weighs in on Andretti bid tipped to ignite F1-FIA ‘power struggle’

Jamie Woodhouse
Zandvoort: Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko in the paddock at the Dutch Grand Prix.

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko in the F1 paddock.

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko foresees financial and organisational issues if Andretti were to enter Formula 1, a prospect which it has been suggested could be taken to the courtroom.

The Andretti-Cadillac bid has cleared a major hurdle by gaining FIA approval to join the Formula 1 grid, though now arguably the taller task awaits as they attempt to convince Formula One Management to accept their entry.

And considering the rather frosty reception from much of the current grid to the prospect of Andretti-Cadillac joining the scene, their arrival is far from a done deal.

Andretti tipped to be trigger for F1 versus FIA “power struggle”

While FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been a vocal supporter of Andretti-Cadillac’s F1 interest, Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has cooled the suggestion of the series needing an eleventh team, so are these two chiefs on a collision course?

An unnamed F1-Insider.com source reckons so, sensing a battle throughout the sport that could even require the courts for a resolution.

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Much has been made of the current $200 million anti-dilution fee which a new team must pay, to be distributed among the current teams as a means of compensation for an extra slice of the revenue pie to be dished out.

But, despite speculation that this fee will be significantly increased to reflect Formula 1’s rapid growth in recent years, the F1-Insider.com source spelled out the complexity of this situation surrounding the Andretti bid, with Formula 1’s commercial rights holder Liberty Media not wanting to bow to the FIA, while the existing teams are not ready to be the ones footing the bill.

“Stefano Domenicali and FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem are like cats and dogs,” the analyst claimed.

“The dispute about a possible entry of the Andretti team could now cause the spark to explode.

“There will be a power struggle. “It could also end in a court battle lasting many years. The loser will be the sport.”

Helmut Marko sees financial and organisational stumbling blocks

Marko spoke of how the existing teams, on top of not wanting to lose out on revenue, also believe that their values across the board will drop should Andretti-Cadillac enter the fray,  while the Red Bull advisor also claimed that many circuits on the F1 calendar could not accommodate an 11th team.

“An eleventh team means that not only does each team have to give away more of the money pie, but also that the value of each individual team falls,” he told F1-Insider.com. “Of course, nobody wants that.

“Most race tracks are maxed out in terms of space. Where are you supposed to put an additional team in the already very narrow pit lanes? In the paddock, you would probably have to reduce the size of the hospitalities. But the teams are not interested in that.”

Formula 1’s more immediate future sees the series return to the Lusail International Circuit for the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix, where Red Bull’s Max Verstappen only requires a top-six finish in the sprint race to crown himself a three-time World Champion.

Read next: The potential winners and losers after FIA accepts Andretti’s 11th team bid