In a move that could cause waves in Formula 1 racing, the sport’s governing body commenced a search for new teams to join the grid as early as 2025. Several teams, including Andretti-Cadillac, Hitech, Formula Equal and LKY SUNZ, responded favorably to this call and have gone public with their ambition. There has been talk of potential bids from other teams such as Rodin Carlin, with an Asian entry also being suggested.
However, this decision hasn’t been well received in all quarters. F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, for instance, has expressed skepticism over expanding the number of teams beyond the current 10. A concern amongst rival teams is the potential financial hit due to having to share their revenue with additional parties, and the challenge of logistics with the current number of pit garages.
Despite such concerns, Ben Sulayem, head of the FIA, remains unfazed and believes that increasing the grid is the right decision. Speaking to F1 Initiative.com, he says, “We have a contract and our contract says we have up to 12 teams. So we are not breaking the rules. We are, on the contrary, fulfilling the rules.”
The deadline for the new team applications, initially set for June end, has been extended. The FIA wants to conduct a thorough analysis of all the entries submitted, which spurred the decision. This flexibility was necessary according to Ben Sulayem, emphasizing the choice needs to be clear. He estimates a decision might be expected within four to six weeks.
Ben Sulayem shared that they received five to six applications, with three to four being very serious contenders. As the decision-making process continues, the stakes are elevated. Team approval is contingent on an anti-dilution fee to offset potential losses for existing teams due to a richer field. Although currently set at $200 million in the Concorde Agreement, whispers suggest this value could triple. Sulayem admits considering the possibility of legal action if potential teams are rejected late in the running. “What if one of the applying teams take us to court? They can, if we say no to them,” Sulayem stated.
Despite concerns about the logistical difficulties of fitting in new teams, including lack of garage space and safety issues with more than 20 cars on the track, Sulayem reassured his audience. He referred to the ongoing Apple F1 movie featuring Brad Pitt as an example of how additional space can be made even with current team numbers. The FIA, Sulayem said, works continuously with circuits searching for improvement opportunities. In response to queries about track space, he stated with conviction that current circuits could accommodate 10, 11 or even 12 teams without any issues. He argued that not all regulations will suit everyone but they are mandatory, referring to the recently signed Power Unit (PU) regulations for 2026.