The International Automobile Federation (FIA) has greenlit Andretti’s bid for a new team. Their proposal, made in collaboration with General Motors subsidiary Cadillac, will need consent from the Formula One Group, which holds the rights to the racing series.
Despite this, a wave of opposition has risen among the existing 10 teams. They fear the introduction of an eleventh team could potentially destabilise the current dynamics and reduce their commercial earnings by 10%.
Williams‘ team principal, Vowles, has made it clear that his troop is firmly against the grid inflation, at least until all incumbents are in a financially stable position. According to him, this situation is still a distant reality.
“My thoughts are very clear. Williams is against the addition of an 11th team and very strongly against,” Vowles stated. “My responsibility is to 900 employees within my company. You’ll see that we’re [losing money].”
Recent financial statements from Companies House revealed that Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited suffered a post-tax loss of £17.9m for the year 2022.
Vowles affirmed, “The reason why is we’re investing in the sport to become better. We believe in where the sport is going, we believe in the direction of travel of the sport.” “The current state of affairs shows we now have, I think, a sustainable entity for once. As a result of cooperation between teams, we now have close racing.”
He pointed out, “But it should be known that this isn’t just us that are not financially stable. I would say probably half the grid aren’t. I think the addition of an 11th team is a sensible thing but only at the point where the 10th team on the grid is financially stable.”
He further commented that the sport is currently seeing substantial financial investment to better its quality. “It becomes therefore clear why we’re very careful about diluting what we’ve already got because it’s just more losses on the table.”
Nevertheless, Vowles confirmed that Formula 1 should unanimously welcome an OEM like General Motors. In his words, such an addition should result in an industry growth rather than a shrinkage. He was quick to clarify that this viewpoint is not directed against Andretti or GM, but rather in favour of them.
When F1 Initiative queried to clarify whether Williams was seeking collaboration with General Motors, Vowles responded, “No… My point is more that an organisation, an OEM like GM, absolutely would be welcome in our sport. We would welcome them at this stage. But they’re clearly linked to Andretti – it’s not a question of that and we’re not in talks with them at the moment.”