FIA chief Mohammed Ben Sulayem has backed the Andretti–Cadillac 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 Williams‘ James 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.”
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.
Mercedes‘ Toto 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.”