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Domenicali softens on new F1 team or snubbing Andretti?

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Stefano Domenicali has been a staunch supporter of Formula 1 with ten teams when the rest of the world, fans, pundits, drivers old and new, champions, etc all calling for at least two more.

The F1 chief is not alone, of course, the ten teams (bar maybe McLaren and Alpine) want to keep it to ten to keep their slice of the pie, due them simply because of timing, in which these teams found themselves in the ring to speak, and now that it’s booming there is little desire to allow more people in, no matter how bad the current F1 teams they can’t drop out unless they go bankrupt.

Had the Netflix-inspired boom not happened, it is hard to see the like of Haas and even Williams surviving. But they did and hit the jackpot. all ten teams in the ‘ring’ did so.

Even the very serious Andretti Global  that grew steam in recent months, was not enough to convince Domenicali they needed a new team, despite Michael and Mario lobbying hard the attitude in the F1 paddock was: Who are the Andrettis?

Credit the Americans for perseverance and changing life to suit an F1 project, which they hope to have in the championship by 2026 and are planning for this as if it has already been given the nod. Of course, it has not but that’s for the FIA to decide.

Domenicali has previously questioned what added value the Andretti project would bring to F1, and let it be known that Mario and Michael were not the only ones working on an entry; the Italian was clearly not warm to the idea of more teams not too long ago

Answering investor questions during Liberty Media’s third-quarter 2021 earnings conference call last week, Domenicali changed his tune somewhat: “It is not a problem having one more team to have better racing, therefore we will see and we will monitor the situation.”

Then, in what can be perceived as another snub aimed at the Andretti project, the F1 chief added: “If there would be a real, credible new entry that wants to discuss with us, we are ready to discuss, but we are not in a rushed position today for that.”

Andretti’s F1 entry bid is not credible? Or have we lost something in translation?

Andretti's F1 entry bid is not credible? Or have we lost something in translation?g

Had the “credible new entry” been Porsche, would he have said the same thing?

Domenicali continued: “With regard to the value or the process of the possibility of bringing a new F1 team into the championship, of course, there is the primary step that both us and the FIA have to be in agreement on that.

“And I think the first thing that we need to consider is, will this eventual possibility bring extra value to the championship? If so, of course, we are going to discuss it internally and we will see if there is any kind of real potential for a new entry that can give value to the championship.

“On top of this, there is a value that has to be recognised to the teams that are already in the championship, because, of course, they cannot allow any dilution of their partnership with the F1 championship.

“This is what is written in the Concorde Agreement but mainly, the point is that does a new entry bring a better position for the F1 world championship? This is really in terms of value from a financial point of view and in terms of value from a sporting point of view.”

This is all very elitist as the current ten teams are preordained to stay in F1 forever, no matter how they perform or how little money they have to carry out a decent campaign (Haas 2020 and 2021) while other ambitious motorsport teams, with resources and pedigree, cannot get a look in or chance to prove themselves at what should be the pinnacle of the sport: the proving ground for the best ten, eleven or more teams in the world.

Anything less than that is not what F1 is supposed to be all about, this franchising of the teams and blockading of the F1 paddock pushes it closer to showbiz and away from the sport it should be.

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