Throughout Formula 1’s history, the FIA and its teams have acted like a loveless couple who flirted with divorce but never finalised the papers.
Between 1981 and 1982, the sport was on the verge of splitting into two following a series of boycotts and disputes which was only resolved through the Concorde agreement.
28 years later, threats of a breakaway series started to become real following a proposed budget cap, although this subsided after the idea was dropped.
Fast forward to 2023, the sport is at loggerheads again over the conduct of Mohammed Ben Sulayem and the potential expansion of the F1 grid.
Andretti Global’s potential arrival has divided teams and governing bodies into two camps, with some welcoming the new entity whilst others flat-out rejected them.
So here’s why it might be time for the teams not to get a say on who comes into the sport.
No other league allows the teams a say in who gets in
In all professional leagues, new entities always come along when it comes time to expand the pie.
The NFL is an excellent example of growing the pie without diluting it. Since the merger of the NFL with the AFL in 1970, the league doubled in size and now plays games in Europe.
Since the merger, no teams have had a say about who can and can’t enter the league, with the final decision coming through the league’s hierarchy.
So why shouldn’t F1 and the FIA adopt this approach and create new financial rules which can ensure the survival and competitiveness of an 11 to 12 team grid.
The current Concorde agreement will run out in 2025, so it might be wise for a clause to be written to guarantee prize money for all teams, no matter where they finish.
Tiresome politics need to be put to bed
Andretti’s recent saga have seen some in F1 band together to try every trick in the book to stop them from entering.
When asked to get a manufacturer and showcase what they’ll bring to the sport, Andretti secured the services of Cadillac and added in-house Formula 2 and Formula 3 teams.
Yet despite these positives, some questioned whether it would bring anything to the sport, with rumours swirling over whether the $200m entry fee may be increased.
One of the core reasons behind the animosity is Ben Sulayem’s support for the project, which included several supportive social media posts.
A social media post from the president of the FIA shouldn’t determine whether a team gets added to the grid, nor should the teams use it as a political football.
Closing the shop window now may cause pain for the future
Undoubtedly the most significant reason for why the teams’ power should be cut is the potential ramifications of what could happen if new entries are shut out.
Not only do 1-2 teams create more aspiring opportunities for professionals to enter the sport, but it also gives those made redundant because of cost cap cuts a second chance.
Two more sets of talented drivers will get an opportunity to race in F1, too, at a time when seats in the sport are virtually unattainable without a tankful load of cash.
Then theirs the easing of risk, which the sport failed to address in 2014 following the bankruptcy of Caterham and Marussia, cutting the field to 18.
Haas and Williams have been on the brink in the past, and by having an extra team or two, the grid wouldn’t drop below 20 cars, maintaining the sport’s healthy image.
I agree there should be more teams in F1 .
However the writer is a bit misinformed about other professional leagues . Take the NFL for instance . The 32 teams own the league . The commissioner of the NFL works for the teams . Every operational decision is effectively made by the teams . Including expansion .
F1 is a bit of an outlier in the world of sports . The management is a 3 legged stool , FIA , F1 , and the teams . Maybe it is time for the FIA to back away and let the people with the money run the show .
The FIA is a non profit organization with leadership who is elected , not selected . The F1 business model has been around since the fifties when there were no sponsors and a season lasted 10 races .
Just about every rule and reg. change the FIA makes , is a bandage to fix a problem they previously created . We didn’t have cars bouncing all over the place until the FIA decided to introduce their version of ground effects . How did that work out ?? Time for a new model .