Williams “strongly against” Andretti F1 bid: "It’s not that we’re close-minded"

James Vowles has explained why Williams are “strongly against” Andretti’s bid to become F1’s 11th team, calling for the need to “protect the sport”.
James Vowles (GBR) Williams Racing Team Principal. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy,
James Vowles (GBR) Williams Racing Team Principal. Formula 1 World…

Earlier this week, the FIA announced that Andretti’s initial bid to join the grid had been accepted, with their application now requiring approval from F1 following commercial discussions.

F1, particularly the teams, have been vocally against a new team joining grid amid concerns about “dilution” and less money being available due to it being split between 11 entities, rather than 10 as it is now.

Speaking on Friday in Qatar, Vowles was firm in his reasoning of why Williams are against Andretti joining the grid.

“Williams is against the addition of an 11th team and very strongly against,” he said. “My responsibility is to 900 employees within my company. If you look at company's house you can look up Williams who has submitted it now you can see we’re lossy, very lossy. If you compare it from ‘21 to ‘22 you will see the losses are in the tens of millions more. 

“Compare it to ‘23, which you can’t see, but I will guarantee you, it’s multiples above that. The reasons why? We’re investing in the sport to become better. We believe in where the sport is going. We believe in the direction of travel of the sport. 

“In order to do that, the reason why is we actually have a sustainable entity for once. Teams are actually working more and more together, we have close racing as the result of things. It should be known this isn’t just us that aren’t financially stable. 

Alexander Albon (THA) Williams Racing FW45. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 18, Qatar Grand Prix, Doha, Qatar, Qualifying
Alexander Albon (THA) Williams Racing FW45. Formula 1 World Championship,…

“I would say half of the grid aren't. The addition of an 11th team is sensible but only at the point when the tenth team on the grid is financially stable. I am fortunate to have owners that really believe in what we're doing and invest. We have to take care as a sport to look after that. It becomes clear that we’re being very careful about being what we’ve already got - it’s just more losses on the table.

“We’re more than happy to bring in new entities but the pie has to grow as a result of it not shrinking and so far it’s just shrinking.”

The former Mercedes strategist clarified that they’re not against Andretti or General Motors specifically but wanted the sport to be in a better place financially.

“For clarity on that, that’s not against either Andretti or GM - quite the opposite,” he added. “I welcome GM with open arms and Wiliams opens GM with open arms. I hope to build a relationship with them should things not work out. 

“I think they’re an incredible entity that will make the sport better. It’s not that we’re close minded to more coming into the sport but what we’re very careful about is protecting the sport we have right now.”

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