Bad news for Andretti as Stefano Domenicali stands firm on 11th team debate

Michelle Foster
Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali at the French Grand Prix. Paul Ricard, July 2022.

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali at the French Grand Prix. Paul Ricard, July 2022.

Stefano Domenicali remains vehemently opposed to an 11th team joining the grid but F1 chief maintains that it’s not about the money.

Back in February the FIA opened the application process for an 11th team, potentially even a 12th, to the join the Formula 1 grid with motorsport’s governing body saying at the time they hoped to make a decision by the end of June.

That, though, has not been forthcoming while several of the existing teams have spoken out against the inclusion of an 11th team.

Stefano Domenicali: I’m not changing my mind

The team bosses are not only worried about having to share the prize money, F1 regulations stating it would need to be split between all the teams on the grid not just the top-10 as it has been in the past, but also that an 11th team would dilute the value of the sport.

Domenicali agrees with them that an additional team is not necessary for the success of Formula 1.

“I think to be honest, if the real value that it is bringing to the sport is important and is real and stable for the future, there is also another consideration that you have to take. If the contest is growing — which is what we can see today — I think 10 teams are more than enough to create the show or the business and the attention that we want to see on the track,” he told the Beyond the Grid podcast earlier this year.

Six months later the F1 chief says he still stands by that sentiment.

“I’m not changing my mind,” he told Motorsport.com. “It’s not the money, as we have said, and I don’t want to anticipate anything because there is a process and I think that I have respect for the fact the FIA launched their process, and very soon we will arrive at the conclusion.

“As we always said, we need to make sure that the decision is right for the business. And this is what I think is the duty of the FIA and us together, that has to be taken. So that is another decision that will be taken in the next couple of months.”

Asked specifically about Andretti, with Michael Andretti having recently backtracked on his greed comments, Domenicali replied: “There are positives and negatives, that’s part of the evaluation that we’re doing. So I cannot spoil or anticipate anything.

“We are doing things very seriously and correctly. So as soon as we will be ready for that discussion we’re going to inform, as a discussion we’re going to take it with the FIA together.”

Andretti is one of five hopefuls that have applied for a spot on the grid along with Carlin, Hitech, Formula Equal and LKY SUNZ.

But while Domenicali says it’s not about the money, Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff accepts that in part it actually is.

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“There is no mature sports league in the world, whether it’s a national football championship, the Champions League, the NBA, the NFL, the NHL, where such a situation is possible by simply setting up a team and joining – thank you very much, drinking out of the prize fund,” he told the media including PlanetF1.com.

“You have to qualify, you have to go through the ranks, showcase commitment to the championship, that we’ve done over the many years.

“If it’s creative, and what we’ve seen so far hasn’t convinced the teams, but we haven’t seen the applications and submissions that were made to the FIA and to Stefano and they will judge whether that is positive for Formula 1 or not.”

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