No F1 team for sale? Andretti told by Zak Brown how they can change that

Henry Valantine
The F1 logo and Michael Andretti

Andretti was rejected by FOM despite being approved by the FIA.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown suggested “there’s always a number” Andretti can bid to make a rival team sell up, if they want to make it onto the Formula 1 grid.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said this week that the prospective Formula 1 entrants should “go and buy another team” in a reversal of his previous position, having looked for interested parties to expand the grid in early 2023 and Andretti having been the only team to reach the FIA’s benchmark.

Zak Brown: ‘There’s always a number’ Andretti could reach to buy current F1 team

The proposed Andretti Cadillac entry was rejected when it reached Formula One Management, with FOM rejecting the notion of expanding the grid.

Andretti would have had to pay a $200m anti-dilution fee to the existing teams in order to join the grid, but FIA president Ben Sulayem agreed that the huge success of Formula 1 in recent years should drive that price up significantly for any new teams.

When it was put to the McLaren CEO that Andretti should buy an existing constructor, even though none are publicly for sale, Brown explained that there will be a figure they can offer that will make any team think about selling up.

“That would certainly be the easiest thing to do,” Brown told ESPN when asked about Andretti buying another team.

“There doesn’t seem to be anyone who wants to sell at the moment, that being said, but that just means the offer needs to be bigger.

“There’s always a number, but no-one has a ‘for sale’ sign, from what I can see, on their front door.”

More on the Andretti F1 bid and recent developments on it

👉 FIA president tells Andretti ‘go and buy another team’ in surprise F1 entry U-turn

👉 Opinion: Stop telling Andretti to buy an existing F1 team when nobody is up for sale

The caveat for Andretti in this scenario is that buying an existing team now is likely to be significantly more expensive than joining the grid as a new team under the terms of the current Concorde Agreement.

But as Brown explained, the grid is now in a much more profitable position than it has been for a long time, given the influence the sport’s commercial rights holders, Liberty Media, have had.

“Historically in Formula 1, it was enter, show up and the sport didn’t care if you didn’t make it halfway through a year,” Brown said.

“So in the past you had Lola start a team and they go bust after three races.

“I think Liberty is now in a position where you’ve got 10 very healthy teams, so they’re going to hold an 11th and 12th team to the extreme highest criteria and extreme due diligence, which I think is right.

“Previously there was always a team going bust next year. Now you have over half the grid is profitable.

“And these franchise values, I think Williams was bought for $150 million, I don’t think five years later you can buy that team for less than a billion and a half.

“So the value creation has been immense.”

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