Mohammed Ben Sulayem: F1’s Andretti standoff could taint FIA integrity

Andretti have been given the green light by the FIA but need approval from F1 to join the grid

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FIA chief Mohammed Ben Sulayem has backed the AndrettiCadillac Formula 1 bid in the face of opposition from teams, and said their exclusion from the sport would jeopardise the FIA‘s reputation.

The FIA approved Andretti‘s entry but they still need approval from F1 Management and must convince the current teams that their introduction to the sport would’ve financially damage them.

However, they’ll face an uphill battle as plenty of team principals opposing the move, including WilliamsJames Vowles who launched a scathing attack on the proposition at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix.

“Is the FIA benefiting financially from it? No. But once we declared it, Liberty Media share price went up. Where is the problem?” Ben Sulayem told the press. “We are under the EU rules on anti-competition. So if we do that, also, we are also jeopardizing the integrity of the FIA.

“If it’s Andretti or any other team, as long as they follow the due diligence and the process we’re going to accept it. It’s our duty, there are 12 teams allowed and we treat them all the same.

“And when Andretti came with GM, of course it adds sustainability to motorsport and to the business.”

Michael Andretti is pushing to get Andretti into F1 | Penske Entertainment: Chris Owens

Ben Sulayem: No one can say no to Andretti

Ben Sulayem added he’s not worried about Andretti being short of power unit options even if there’s opposition from F1 teams.

MercedesToto Wolff has been very cautious over their potential entry while Vowles is the Silver Arrows‘ former strategist, while Ferrari have also been far from enthusiastic about the Andretti project.

However, F1 rules mean if a team is left without a power unit then the supplier with the fewest affiliated teams in the paddock must supply that team. Right now that would be Alpine, who have been the manufacturer linked most heavily with the Andrtti project.

“With the rules, nobody can say no to them,” Ben Sulayem added. If all the teams say no, it goes the FIA has the power to go on and say you take one and I’m sure it is either Alpine – it’s not a secret – or Honda.

“And one of them would win because that is the rules, but I am optimistic of GM coming with a power unit, I am very optimistic. And we on the right track of having an power unit from Cadillac. I think that is an achievement.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, and previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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