In less time then it will have been between F1 cars finishing the 2022 season and starting this year’s competition, we will know who and how many teams are applying to join Formula One.
The application procedure is set to close April 30th and the FIA claim they will have decisions made by June 30th this year.
New F1 teams not before 2025
The earliest a new team could now make the grid is 2025 given the lead times in car design together with infrastructure build and the recruitment of the right personnel.
Andretti did at one point suggest they could be ready for 2024 though the time it has taken F1 and the FIA to wrangle over an approved process means that hope is no surely dead in the water.
The arrival of new “OEMs” – or what we would historically call manufacturers – has created a sense of anticipation for the next Formula One era.
Porsche yet to play their F1 hand
Audi are well on their way to acquiring Sauber and merely have to wait until the current named sponsor Alfa Romeo has retired from the scene at the end of this season.
Ford have been announced as the partner and collaborator with Red Bull Racing to build the next generation of F1 power units – or as we historically called them…. engines.
This leaves Porsche who claimed their interest still persisted even when talks with Red Bull on a collaboration were finally declared over. Surely their only options now would be to buy Williams or partner with Haas.
Of course Porsche could apply to Formula One as a new team under the current process, though having indicated they prefer a relationship with an existing F1 team with experience, this would be a bold change of direction from the German sports car marque.
Andretti’s hook up with Cadillac welcomed by F1
Then of course we have the recently announced partnership between Andretti and General Motors and Cadillac. The addition to the Andretti application of Cadillac did appear to soften the position of the likes of Toto Wolff who had previously been all out against Andretti joining Formula One.
The problem for Andretti is in their rush to prove they were capable of making the F1 grid, they signed a deal in 2022 with Alpine to supply them with power units.
At the launch of the Alpine 2023 Formula One challenger, Laurent Rossi who heads up the Renault brand Alpine, claimed of Andretti:
Alpine reveal their deal to supply Andretti
“We agreed that if they get their licence to run in Formula 1, then we will provide them with a powertrain.”
“But it’s up to them to show that they can join the Formula One circus and for that they need to go through the hoops, the process in place where they submit applications and they show that they bring value to the F1 circus and teams in general.
“It’s for them to prove it and for the others to assess. If they join, we’ll be happy to join them. If they don’t it means that all in all it didn’t work out.”
Cadillac badged power unit in reality
Of course the Alpine engine supply deal was agreed when Andretti intended to join Formula One before 2026, now they find themselves in a bit of a bind with a deal agreed with Alpine and now Cadillac claiming they are part of the Andretti entry.
One solution is Alpine could provide a power unit for Andretti that is badged Cadillac, similar to the Red Bull Powertrains arrangement with Honda in 2022.
What value do Cadillac really bring to F1
However, this raises the question as to the value Cadillac brings to F1 and clearly impact on the viability of the Andretti application.
Andretti have been vocal at the push back from certain Formula One team bosses over their application to join the sport calling them “greedy.”
In a recent interview with Sky, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said:
“Michael Andretti is very vocal about joining F1. In my view it was not smart to say that the teams were ‘too greedy’ and protecting themselves.”
New F1 entry fee soon to be $600m
Zak Brown revealed this week the topic of “new teams” icon the agenda for the F1 commission convening early next week.
There are now calls for the entry fee for new teams to be raised from $200m to between $5-600m which may prove to be a price Andretti are not willing to pay.
They will pay the fee if forced to. The fee is really now more on par with what you would pay to one of the Big 4 US sports leagues to add a new Franchise. At the same time I would think F1 would have incentive to just get to their 12 team cap that they all agreed upon in the last concorde agreement, because then your club is that much more exclusive with the only way to join would be to buy an existing team. This in the end I would imagine drive the value of these teams up. Just take Nascar as an example of that. Charter prices have exploded to ridiculous levels in the past couple years, which is driving up the value of these teams.