The bid by Michael Andretti, supported by General Motors brand Cadillac, has emerged as the most high-profile contender among those that have responded to the FIA‘s invitation to form an 11th F1 team. This operation has eclipsed the interest shown by Formula 2 outfits Hitech and Rodin Carlin, as well as new Asian contender, LKYSUNZ.
Despite there being no official disclosure from the regulatory body on the acceptance of any new teams, F1 Initiative has understood that only the bid from Andretti has reached the final stage. The decision to admit a new entry onto the grid rests with Formula 1, with its CEO Stefano Domenicali reiterating frequently that there is no necessity for an extra team unless it adds distinct value.
The desire of Andretti to diversify its current IndyCar and Formula E operation into the realm of grand prix racing has been met with a lukewarm reception from incumbent teams. The stance stems from a belief that the existing dilution fee of $200m, payable by any new team joining the grid, fails to provide ample compensation. The opposition toward Andretti’s proposal was reiterated by several team bosses while in Singapore.
Meanwhile, LKYSUNZ shocked existing F1 teams following its Friday announcement that it was ready to pay a dilution fee of $600 million, courtesy of backing from a fresh billionaire investor hailing from Florida. However, the buzz was dampened amid rumors that the LKYSUNZ staff had been informed of its rejection by the FIA, leading them to seek alternate employment. According to F1 Initiative.com, LKYSUNZ, Hitech, and Rodin Carlin were informed that their submitted information fell short for a positive assessment, although no official confirmation was given by the FIA.
Benjamin Durand, CEO of LKYSUNZ, stated, “We are still in dialogue with the FIA. But I can’t go into details at the moment because we are bound by an NDA which we respect.”
The speculation is that LKYSUNZ submitted additional documents hoping for a reassessment from the FIA. However, it’s unlikely with the deadlines specified in the FIA tender having passed, and the rejection is understood to be final. The reasons for the rejection of LKYSUNZ, Hitech, and Rodin Carlin’s bids remain unclear. To pass the FIA application process, new teams need to prove not only robust financial resources but also a plan for environmental sustainability to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2030, along with a commitment to positive social impact, particularly in staff diversity.
Finally, LKYSUNZ has its sights set on establishing its base in Southeast Asia, the greater Kuala Lumpur area in Malaysia being the most probable location. This move would provide a pathway for a completely new set of engineers and mechanics to make their foray into F1.