Martin Brundle believes the FIA and Formula One Management [FOM] are now “squarely head-to-head” with one another after Andretti were rejected from joining the Formula 1 grid.
The sport’s governing body approved the Andretti bid after its Expressions of Interest process in 2023, but a statement from FOM rejecting the proposed new team has prevented two extra cars joining the grid within the next two years.
While scope was left for a potential arrival on the grid in 2028, through a potential works power unit deal with General Motors, the tone of F1’s statement left no doubt that an extra team is not yet welcome on the grid.
Martin Brundle reacts to huge F1 news as Andretti bid rejected
Citing reasons such as the team not being “competitive” and that “F1 would bring value to the Andretti brand rather than the other way around”, alongside others, the door has been closed for now, but been left ajar for the future.
Part of F1’s statement added: “We would look differently on an application for the entry of a team into the 2028 Championship with a GM power unit, either as a GM works team or as a GM customer team.”
But in the immediate term, former F1 driver and current analyst Brundle explained that this outcome puts the sport’s governing body and commercial rights holders at odds with one another, with two opposite decisions having been made about the Andretti team.
He added there was “lots of rationale” behind some of what Formula 1 said however, regarding the logistical strain it would put on the sport to add an extra team, but he would personally still like to see the grid expand in some form.
“As a Formula 1 fan, as a commentator, I would love there to be an 11th and indeed a 12th team on the grid, not least because drivers like Verstappen, Leclerc, Lando Norris, and others [like] George Russell at Mercedes have signed up for a very long time to stay in the same teams,” Brundle explained on Sky Sports News.
“The calendar is fairly mature these days going forward, so it’ll be quite exciting to see that, but it’s much more complex than that.
“This does put the FIA absolutely head-to-head with Formula One Management and Liberty Media, the financial rights holders, because the FIA said yes, Formula 1 have said no to what they often refer to in that document, it’s just come out as an 11th team, rather than necessarily Andretti.
“They’re quite rightly saying that for Andretti as a new team, ‘novice’, as they called them, to build a brand-new car for 2025 and then when the regulations change fundamentally for 2026 to start all over again, it’s too much of a tall order. They think they won’t be competitive.
“Andretti will no doubt say, ‘Well, give us a chance. We’re a mighty organisation with a lot of funding, we’ll show you what we can do and look at some of the other teams on the grid’ – so this is going to run for a good while.
“Also, a really punchy line in there says that ‘this would do more for the Andretti brand than it would for Formula 1’.
“Of course, there’s the logistics too of getting an extra team in the pit lane and around the world for what is a 24-race calendar this year. It’s not just as easy as going: ‘Well, yeah, let’s just put two more cars on the grid.’ We’ve got to get them on the grid, have a garage, have a pit lane big enough, and so on and so forth. So I’d say lots of rationale.
“This is peak F1 we’re in here and the teams no doubt will be saying: ‘Hang on a minute. Many of us have poured billions to get Formula 1 where it is now, into our team, and there’s demand all over the world for races. Fans, tickets, grandstands have sold out, you can’t just come and join our club now when everything’s going so well. You’re going to have to show us what you can bring to the table.’
“And F1 have clearly said today: ‘You’re not bringing enough to let us warrant an extra team on the grid.’”