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Formula 1 denies Michael Andretti's efforts to have a team on the grid by 2026

F1 said it'd be willing to reconsider in 2028 when General Motors would have an engine ready

Michael Andretti during the Formula 1 Lenovo United States Grand Prix 2023 on October 20th, 2023 in Austin USA (Photo by Alessio Morgese/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Michael Andretti has been pushing to own a Formula 1 team. (Photo by Alessio Morgese/NurPhoto via Getty Images) (NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Michael Andretti’s bid to own a Formula 1 team isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

F1 said Wednesday that it had denied Andretti’s application for a team for the 2025 or 2026 season. Andretti has been pushing to start a new team by the 2026 season and has secured an engine deal with General Motors to use Cadillac-branded engines in 2028.

The gap between Andretti’s desired start date in F1 and the GM’s engine readiness was cited as a reason for F1 rebuking Andretti’s bid.

“We do not believe that there is a basis for any new applicant to be admitted in 2025 given that this would involve a novice entrant building two completely different cars in its first two years of existence,” a statement said. “The fact that the Applicant proposes to do so gives us reason to question their understanding of the scope of the challenge involved.

“Formula 1, as the pinnacle of world motorsport, 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. On this basis, we do not believe that the Applicant would be a competitive participant.”

F1 is implementing sweeping new rules changes for its cars ahead of the 2026 season as teams will be overhauling their car specs from the 2024 and 2025 seasons to comply with the 2026 regulations.

Andretti’s attempt to own an F1 team had gotten the go-ahead from the FIA, Formula 1’s governing body. But F1 and its 10 teams haven’t warmed to the idea of an Andretti team joining the series and the statement Wednesday made it clear their attitudes had not changed.

F1 said that it would be willing to reconsider an Andretti team in 2028 when the GM engine is ready for racing. Andretti would have needed to secure an engine deal with another supplier in the interim had it been approved to join F1 before 2028.

F1 also said that it would not benefit from an Andretti team being on the grid. Michael Andretti’s father Mario is one of the greatest drivers ever and is a Formula 1 champion. He posted to social media on Wednesday that he was "devastated" by the F1 decision.

“Our assessment process has established that the presence of an 11th team would not, in and of itself, provide value to the Championship," the statement said. "While the Andretti name carries some recognition for F1 fans, our research indicates that F1 would bring value to the Andretti brand rather than the other way around.”

Andretti Cadillac said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that it disagreed with the decision.

“Andretti Cadillac has reviewed the information Formula One Management Limited has shared and strongly disagree with its contents,” the team’s statement said. “Andretti and Cadillac are two successful global motorsports organizations committed to placing a genuine American works team in F1, competing alongside the world’s best. We are proud of the significant progress we have already made on developing a highly competitive car and power unit with an experienced team behind it, and our work continues at pace.”

It’s worth wondering if Formula 1 would take such a hard-line stance against Andretti’s efforts to have a team if Andretti Autosport had more recent success in IndyCar. Colton Herta won three times in 2021 and finished fifth in the standings. Since then, he’s won just once and no other Andretti driver has a victory over the past three seasons. Perhaps some success in 2024 and 2025 could push F1 into letting Andretti into the club when the GM engine is ready.

“We would look differently on an application for the entry of a team into the 2028 championship with a GM power unit, either as a GM works team or as a GM customer team designing all allowable components in-house. In this case, there would be additional factors to consider in respect of the value that the Applicant would bring to the Championship, in particular in respect of bringing a prestigious new OEM to the sport as a [power unit] supplier.”