Announcement on new teams expected "next month"


FIA president, Mohammed ben Sulayem hopes to announce whether the sport is to welcome new teams to the grid in "four to six weeks".

The FIA opened the application process for new teams in February, at a time the relationship between the sport's governing body and F1 was already souring.

While Andretti had been pushing at the door for some time, the application process saw a number of other prospective entrants throw their hats in the ring, some more serious than others.

Strengthening its bid, though still failing to convince F1 bosses or the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari, Andretti subsequently announced a partnership with General Motors brand Cadillac, insisting that the move was not about simply rebadging the (Renault) power unit.

Since then Carlin, Hitech, Formula Equal and LKY SUNZ have submitted bids, and while the FIA ponders their entries, F1 CEO, Stefano Domenicali remains resolute in his opposition to 'fresh blood'.

"I'm not changing my mind," he told earlier this month. "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," he added. "And this is what I think is the duty of the FIA and us together, that has to be taken.

"There are positives and negatives, that's part of the evaluation that we're doing. So I cannot spoil or anticipate anything."

Speaking to, Ben Sulayem said an announcement will be made in the coming weeks.

"I hope we can make the announcement next month," he said. "We are talking about serious people and we don't want to exclude anyone without a thorough review of the applications we have received.

"We are talking about big names and big money," he added. "I think the letter of intent was the right decision and the contract says that there can be 12 teams in the F1 field.

"Of course, we don't want just any team," he insisted, "we want A teams and we need a car manufacturer, I prefer manufacturers because it would be good for the sport.

"We've taken our time, the FIA team has worked very hard on the letter of intent, we've had meetings with the teams to review their bids and I think we'll have a final decision in four to six weeks."

Asked about the various roadblocks that the teams and F1 appear to placing in the path of the prospective newcomers including the $600m 'dilution fee' and concerns over the logistics, not forgetting that old chestnut the sport's DNA, Ben Sulayem said: "It's obviously a political and financial issue. However, it's clear to me that the FIA has to respect the treaties and we are regulated by the EU. We cannot manipulate anything. If a team is interested and our rules say we can have so many teams, how can we say no?

"I understand the concerns of other teams," he insisted, "especially the financial part of it, the distribution of it, but I am not here to upset anyone, I am here to do the right thing for the sport.

"We're happy to sit down with everybody and give advice, but we can't say to a big team that wants to come into F1, go and buy a team or you can't come. I think that's wrong."

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Published: 26/07/2023
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