FIA president changes stance on Andretti’s F1 entry bid with new advice

FIA boss Mohammed Ben Sulayem now advises Andretti to "go and buy another team".

Mohammed Bin Sulayem (UAE) FIA President. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 8, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, Monaco,
Mohammed Bin Sulayem (UAE) FIA President. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has now advised Andretti to “go and buy another team” rather than becoming F1’s 11th team.

Andretti’s bid to enter the sport in the next two years with Cadillac was refused in January, with F1 deciding that an 11th team “would not on its own add value”. However, they did leave the door open for entry from 2028 when partner General Motors would be in a position to provide an engine.

F1’s governing body the FIA approved Andretti’s entry last October and Ben Sulayem had previously backed the idea of the world championship having more teams. But it appears the FIA president’s stance has changed based on his latest comments. 

“I have no doubt FOM and Liberty would love to see other teams as long as they are OEMs," Ben Sulayem told Reuters at the Monaco Grand Prix.

"I would advise [Andretti] to go and buy another team, not to come as the 11th team.

"I feel that some teams need to be refreshed. What is better? To have 11 teams as a number or 10 and they are strong?

"I still believe we should have more teams but not any teams. The right teams. It’s not about the number, it’s about the quality.”

Michael Andretti (USA) Andretti Global Chairman and CEO. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 6, Miami Grand Prix, Miami,
Michael Andretti (USA) Andretti Global Chairman and CEO. Formula 1 World…

He added: "Without mentioning names, there are teams which are struggling. Struggling with performance, struggling even with management.

"It’s about having the right team, not to lose a chance or an opportunity where someone like GM with a PU is coming to Formula 1.

"Imagine the impact. We have three races in America. We have such a huge fan base. But we don’t have a proper [US] team. I’m so happy to have Ford in [with Red Bull] but imagine having GM and imagine having [more] American drivers.”

The apparent U-turn over Andretti from Ben Sulayem could be viewed as an effort from the FIA to improve relations with FOM and Liberty Media.

"Peace is always good, you can’t have all the time unnecessary issues," Ben Sulayem explained. "We both understand that we need to go forward and the only way to go forward is to have much more clarity between us.

"We are with FOM when it comes to business. We are partners and we have to also forget the small things and find a solution how can we address these issues."

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