Wolff: No prospective new team has shown value yet
Toto Wolff has said he does not want to dilute the value of Formula 1 by “just adding teams” and is yet to see the value of an 11th outfit joining the sport.
With Audi and Porsche confirming their interest in joining the sport in 2026, some of the current team owners are expressing their displeasure at more potentially joining the party.
The Andretti family has submitted a plan to the FIA to join the sport from 2024, but the result of their entry has yet to be determined.
Some current team principals, such as Zak Brown, have supported the proposal while others have been sceptical. One of those is Mercedes’ Toto Wolff who has argued that any 11th team would dilute the value of the current teams.
When asked by The Athletic during a pre-Miami Grand Prix press conference if he would like to see Andretti join F1, Wolff highlighted that any new team would have to show their value to the sport and their would-be competitors.
“So many things have been said around an American entry,” Wolff said. “So, on the pluses. I’m sure that if we have a true American team, with an American driver, that would be very beneficial.
“But, we have 10 entries today, we divide the prize fund among those 10 entries. We have invested considerable amounts over the last 10 years.
“I mean, each of the organisations that’s sitting here on the podium has probably put more than a billion into the Formula 1 projects over the years, so it needs to be accretive.
“If a team comes in, how can you demonstrate that you’re bringing in more money than it’s actually costing: because the 11th team means a 10 per cent dilution for everybody else.
It’s decision time for Mercedes in Spain
Mercedes have had a tough start and, with upgrades due, the time has come to see if they can claw back any pace.
“So, if one is able to demonstrate that, then we should all be sitting on the table, and cheer for such an entry. But that hasn’t been demonstrated yet. And that may sound a bit dry, because it comes down to the numbers, but the value of Formula 1 is that it’s a limited amount of franchises. And we don’t want to dilute that value by just adding teams.”
McLaren CEO Brown agreed with Wolff that any team needs to add value, but also commented that he believes the Andretti name would bring that.
“I agree with Toto. You know, we’ve got 10 great teams, and 11th and the 12th team need to add value to the sport,” the 50-year-old said.
“Obviously, the Andretti name has a huge history, in Formula 1, in various forms of motor sport, and I think would add a lot of value.
“So as long as it’s a team that helps build the sport, unlike some of the other entries that we’ve seen, over the years that have come and gone in year two or three, I think we can’t accept teams like that.
“But a very credible racing team with a credible brand, with the right resources, I think is additive to the sport. And that appears to be what Michael [Andretti] has put together. So, on that basis, we are supportive.”
Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi was on the same wavelength as Brown and said adding an American team would be in line with the current expansion in the US.
“I’m very favourable, I’ve talked to Michael as well,” he said. “It goes along with the expansion in the US. I think that will contribute to the show, an American team will directly generate, I guess, interest in the US. And therefore, revenue.
“Then we need to demonstrate that it’s enough to compensate for the dilution that Toto was mentioning. Gut feeling? I think he would – but let’s do the job properly and we’ll see.”