FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem is not letting news that Andretti hit a snag with their Renault engine deal expiring halt his push for the American team to join the Formula 1 grid.
Although Andretti-Cadillac has been given the go-ahead by the FIA to become Formula 1’s 11th team, their arrival is by no means guaranteed with the teams, and even FOM, not sold on the idea.
But what was already an uphill battle took a turn for the worse earlier this month when Auto Motor und Sport reported their Renault engine deal expired earlier this year.
Andretti currently without an engine supply deal
Renault don’t sound keen on redoing the deal, interim team boss Bruno Famin telling the publication: “The priorities have shifted. Our first priority is to develop the best possible engine for 2026.”
The Renault deal was expected to be a stop-gap for Andretti to allow them to race in 2025 before putting a General Motors/Cadillac engine into the car in 2026 when the new power unit regulations come into play or, as has been most likely been suggested, a year or two after that.
Ben Sulayem, Andretti’s biggest supporter in their bid to enter Formula 1, accepts it may take a few years for a GM engine to be on the grid and that it’s up to the sport’s existing engine suppliers to step into the breach and power Andretti.
“We are demanding that and we will see that,” he told Motorsport.com about General Motors building an engine. “But engines are not built in four or five years.
“At the beginning, Andretti will have to agree on one of two engines.”
FIA could face yet more opposition
The FIA president believes Appendix 6 of F1’s Sporting Regulations, which states that “the teams without a supply agreement shall be allocated to the Power Unit Manufacturer(s) that supplies(supply) the lowest number of teams and so on “, applies to Andretti.
That would, at things stand today, be Renault as they supply only Alpine while in 2026 it would be a toss-up between Renault and Honda, with the latter only involved with Aston Martin.
“It works that, with the rules, nobody can say no to them,” Ben Sulayem added. “If all the teams say no, then the FIA has the power to go on and say, the least two [engine manufacturers] being used, then we put them in a draw, and we take one.
“It’s not a secret, and I’m sure it is either Alpine or Honda, and one of them would win because that is the rules.”
It, however, has been suggested that the regulation doesn’t apply to Andretti as they would be a brand new entity, not an existing team.
Asked about Renault’s stance on potentially being ordered to supply Andretti, Famin said: “We will not answer in that detail.
“There are a lot of regulations, there are the sporting regulations, and we have the Concorde Agreement. We’re going to follow the rules, whether from the regulator or the promoter.”