A decision is forthcoming regarding the inclusion of an additional team in future Formula 1 seasons. The highest-profile applicant appears to be the Andretti/Cadillac project. However, existing teams have expressed their opposition to welcoming a new team unless they bring value and resources to the championship. Fred Vasseur of Ferrari has stated that the series does not need another American team, while Christian Horner of Red Bull has dismissed Cadillac’s involvement as simply a badging exercise.
Toto Wolff, Team Principal of Mercedes, has commented on the situation, expressing uncertainty about the identities of the applicants and the nature of their proposals. He explains that the FIA and FOM, as the decision-makers, will assess whether a potential entry would be beneficial for F1 in terms of marketing and interest. Wolff emphasizes that his team’s position is clear – if a new team can positively contribute to the development of F1, and if they pass the necessary criteria, then the sport should consider their inclusion.
Wolff raises concerns about the logistics and safety implications of adding another team to the grid. He argues that there is already congestion during qualifying sessions, likening it to a go-kart track. He also highlights the lack of space at certain circuits to accommodate an additional team. Furthermore, he mentions how the valuations of F1 teams have increased with the likes of Audi and Alpine‘s venture capital fund buying stakes in teams. All these factors need to be assessed by the FIA and FOM when considering a new entry.
Wolff draws parallels between F1 and other sports leagues, such as football, basketball, and hockey, suggesting that new teams cannot simply join without qualifying and demonstrating commitment to the championship. He states that the applications and submissions made to the FIA and Stefano Domenicali, the CEO of Formula 1, will determine whether a potential new entry is viewed as positive for the sport. So far, the proposals have not convinced the existing teams, but the final decision rests with the governing bodies. The Mercedes Team Principal believes that increasing the number of entries would dilute the league unless the new team brings substantial benefits.
While acknowledging that leagues like the NHL have added teams, Wolff asserts that the circumstances surrounding F1 are different. He highlights that when F1 faced the risk of losing teams due to bankruptcy, the decision was made to increase the number of teams to maintain stability. However, he believes that F1 is a league of franchises, and any new team should bring value to the championship, similar to the NFL, where the addition of a new team adds excitement and enhances the overall product. Ultimately, the FIA and FOM will make the final judgment on new entries, with Wolff and other team owners offering their perspectives from the sidelines.