James Vowles and Toto Wolff tight-lipped on Andretti’s entry into F1

Andretti await the approval of F1's stakeholders to see if they can join the grid in the future

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Williams and Mercedes team principals James Vowles and Toto Wolff remain sceptical on the value Andretti Global would bring to the Formula 1 grid.

Despite earning approval from the FIA to enter F1 for 2026 and the backing from General Motors via the Cadillac brand, Andretti’s entry into the championship isn’t guaranteed.

This is due to the current 10 teams and FOM having concerns over whether Andretti Global would bring anything to the grid and whether Cadillac‘s backing would be a rebadging exercise rather than a fully-fledged engine program.

However, Cadillac put the ball back in Andretti‘s court by announcing it wouldn’t switch its support to another team if Andretti were rejected but would also start a full-engine programme in time for 2028.

“I can’t really comment much on it, I don’t know what the relationship is between those two entities,” explained Vowles to the press. 

“I think General Motors is a good company to bring into our sport that was more what it was around, and we have no discussions with them. 

“But I just think they’re the sort of company, the sort of OEM, that will grow our sport as a result of things, but my view hasn’t changed on the addition of an 11th team. Fundamentally, its still around the finances of Williams, which is where my focus is.”

Wolff’s opinion unchanged

Since they expressed interest in joining F1 in February 2022, one of Andretti‘s fiercest critics have been Mercedes as they are firmly against an 11th team due to the financial losses suffered by the existing 10 teams.

Wolff‘s stance had softened slightly when Cadillac was first announced to join the Andretti programme in January of 2023, but the Austrian is still against an 11th team expanding the grid.

During July’s British GP weekend, Wolff said groups wanting to enter F1 should buy an existing team, stating logistics concerns and paddock space as another reason against having an 11th team.

Well, GM is one of the big players, no doubt, and I guess if they say they want to join the sport in 2028, they’re serious about it, and it’s a good commitment,” added Wolff. 

“But, we need to see whether the Commercial Rights Holder deems this to be a good entry or not. Like James said, for many teams, it is big dilution that can make the difference between, you know, losses or less losses, and I haven’t changed my opinion on that. 

“We haven’t seen any data, just to say it’s going be awesome. Where’s the case? What are the numbers? How much can we gain in popularity? What’s the name worth? How much more can the sport be attractive? What are the facts? And if those facts are positive, I have no doubt that F1 will consider that in that way.”

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