Red Bull have wrapped up the constructors’ championship and Max Verstappen is on the verge of clinching his third F1 drivers’ title. The FIA Cost Cap announcements have been made an all teams are complaint and the driver market for 2024 is almost decided; so that leaves just one biggie left to be finalised – will there be an 11th team on the F1 grid anytime soon?
Applications were received by the FIA for consideration from Andretti Global along with the FIA Formula 2 outfits Hitech and Rodin Carlin, along with start-up Asian effort LKYSUNZ.
FIA reject LKYSUNZ
There has been uproar in the paddock over FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem’s offer to consider applications for additional teams because the current competitors believes the ‘anti-dilution’ entrance fee of $200m is too small.
Formula One’s CEO Stefano Domenicali has insisted there should be no new teams allowed to join the sport unless they offer “additional value”, something Mercedes Toto Wolff has stressed as well.
Last week Autosport reported that LKYSUNZ had been rejected by the FIA despite offering to increase their entry fee to $600m.
LKYSUNZ CEO Benjamin Durand denied this stating: “We are still in dialogue with the FIA. But I can’t go into details at the moment because we are bound by an NDA which we respect.”
Rodin announce FIA decision
It appears following their rejection LKYSUNZ submitted new documents in the hope that the FIA would revise its assessment and given the silence from the Palace de Concorde no concrete conclusion can be made.
Today another applicant has revealed their bid to enter the F1 world championship has been unsuccessful.
New Zealand based constructor Rodin Cars confirm in a statement:
”Unfortunately, our bid was not successful.”
Rodin reveal Andretti successful
Rodin outline their belief that the application met the FIA criteria which included the soft aspects of a business plan including community benefit.
”This statement is intended to provide insight into the key points of our bid that we believe justified its merit. We wish to emphasise that our objective here is not to criticise the FIA or seek a reconsideration of its decision.
“We fully respect and accept the outcome. Our sole purpose is to release information we consider in the public interest to inform the Formula 1 community.”
However the Rodin statement concludes with a bombshell; “as anticipated from the outset of this process, that the only successful applicant will be Andretti Global. Below, we outline the significant differences between the Andretti bid and the Rodin bid.”
NZ team included female driver
Part of their analysis reveals the Rodin team intended to field a female driver from the off.
“We committed to reserving one seat for a female driver. We have tested Liam Lawson, Jamie Chadwick and Louis Sharp at our facility in New Zealand, in both an F3 car and our own car, the Rodin FZed, which is a car somewhat quicker than a GP2/F2 car.
“Jamie performed exceptionally well, and if she was available, we would have no hesitation in putting her in a seat.”
Rodin reveal they have had some level of collaboration with Ferrari while developing their project and that their full built prototype was competitive on current F1 car lap times.
Rodin collaborated with Ferrari
“We had the opportunity of discussions for a Ferrari collaboration on the Rodin F1 car.
“We are particularly proud to announce that we have a fully functional prototype of our FZero. A car designed to challenge Formula 1 lap times.
“This car has been conceived and designed in New Zealand. The gearbox is built by Ricardo to a Rodin concept and the 4-litre V10 engine has been developed by Neil Brown Engines, again to a Rodin concept.”
Whether Rodin have deliberately leaked that Andretti have been provisionally accepted or not is unconfirmed by F1’s governing body.
Andretti meet “added value” criteria
However, the American application will have been affected by the offer made by LKYSUNZ to up their entrance fee to $600m.
The Andretti bid has been forced to evolve and in an attempt to meet the “added value” criteria they went out and sourced a power unit partnership with General Motors brand Cadillac.
General Motors have no presence in Formula One but given the recent announcement from Red Bull that they will partner with Ford on their power units form 2026, the added value of a second giant American car manufacturer cannot be dismissed.
GM sell around six million vehicles a year across their brands Buick, Chevrolet and GMC and with Chevy already a big participant in Indycar, Cadillac was the obvious choice.
FIA decision late again
Andretti have not commented on their application since August when RacingNews365 reported them stating: “From our standpoint, we’re just going along with the process and trying to fill in all the boxes,” for a 2025 entry.
“We’ve done it all and now it is in [the FIA and F1’s] hands and it is just a waiting situation now, but we should know something shortly.
“There is not a specific timeline, but we have been told early September [to expect a decision whether to grant entry.]”
As with all things FIA including the Cost Cap audit announcements, timelines come and go and early September will soon become early October.
Andretti continued: ”Not only [is coming in in 2025] beneficial, but it is a key factor.
“That is something that’s been put forward quite strongly and I think it makes sense.
“At first, [we were targeting] 2024, but as the process dragged on, 2025 became more feasible, and so that is what we are working towards.”
Given the new power units are only due in 2026, Andretti are believed to have an agreement with Renault to run in 2025 win partnership with the French company.
Entry fee rises by $400m
Whenever the announcement is made by the FIA there will surely be uproar from the current 10 teams delaying matters for Andretti even further.
The current Concorde agreement due to be renewed for 2026 only states a new entrant must pay $200m hence the Andretti target for 2025.
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