Despite achieving approval from the FIA, Andretti Autosport has been denied a spot as the 11th team in F1 by the commercial rights holders. Formula 1 management states that it feels the entry would not bring additional value to the championship.
Although the team had recently demonstrated in public the extensive work already underway on its entry, including testing of a scale model in the TMG wind tunnel in Cologne, Germany, and the securing a power unit supply from General Motors from 2028, the commercial rights holders stated: “Our assessment process has established that the presence of an 11th team would not, on its own, provide value to the Championship. The most significant way in which a new entrant would bring value is by being competitive. We do not believe that the Applicant would be a competitive participant.”
The official statement focuses on the fact that for the first years of its entry (2025 and then 2026-27) Andretti would require the use of a power unit from an existing supplier, which the four manufacturers (five come 2026 when Honda rejoins) are required by the rules to provide if necessary. Even if GM had a power unit ready sooner, this would also be dismissed.
The F1 statement said: “The Application contemplates an association with General Motors (GM) that does not initially include a PU supply, with an ambition for a full partnership with GM as a PU supplier in due course, but this will not be the case for some years. Having a GM PU supply attached to the Application at the outset would have enhanced its credibility, though a novice constructor in partnership with a new entrant PU supplier would also have a significant challenge to overcome. Most of the attempts to establish a new constructor in the last several decades have not been successful.
“2025 will be the last year of the current regulatory cycle and 2026 will be the first year of the subsequent cycle, for which an entirely different car to the previous cycle will be required. The Applicant proposes, as a novice constructor, to design and build a car under the 2025 regulations, and then in the very next year to design and build a completely different carunder the 2026 regulations.”
F1 concluded that Andretti, due to the championship being “the pinnacle of world motorsport,” would struggle to be competitive: “[This] represents a unique technical challenge to constructors of a nature that the Applicant has not faced in any other formula or discipline in which it has previously competed, and it proposes to do so with a dependency on a compulsory PU supply in the initial years of its participation. On this basis, we do not believe that the Applicant would be a competitive participant.”
F1 also effectively dismissed GM’s chances of building a competitive power unit: “Coming to the sport as a new PU manufacturer is also a huge challenge, with which major automotive manufacturers have struggled in the past, and one which can take a manufacturer a number of years of significant investment in order to become competitive. GM have the resource and credibility to be more than capable of attempting this challenge, but success is not assured.”
Where this refusal now leaves Andretti’s plans remains to be seen. However, it does appear that for now, short of buying an existing team, there is no route into the sport for the American outfit or any other team short of a full works effort from an established manufacturer.