Ben Sulayem initiates process for new teams to join F1

Ben Sulayem initiates process to bring new teams into F1

Ben Sulayem initiates process for new teams to join F1
Formula 1‘s governing body is ready to start a process for new teams to enter the Championship, president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said on Monday.

The move could open the door to American Michael Andretti’s Andretti Global F1 project, which has so far met little encouragement from most existing teams and Formula 1 management.

“I have asked my @FIA team to look at launching an Expressions of Interest process for prospective new teams for the FIA @F1 World Championship,” International Automobile Federation (FIA) head Ben Sulayem posted on Twitter.

U.S.-owned Haas are the most recent completely new F1 team to enter, debuting in 2016 when the sport had 11 teams until the demise of Manor Racing before the start of the 2017 season. Manor were one of three new outfits, all now defunct, who entered in 2010.

F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali said last September that the sport, which could have a record 24 races this year and is growing in global popularity, did not need more than 10 teams.

Teams divided over the prospect of new entrants

McLaren and Renault-owned Alpine have been supportive of Andretti’s plans but other teams have questioned the commercial benefit of a new entrant.

The current version of the ‘Concorde Agreement’ between teams, FIA and F1 stipulates that the 10 teams split their share of the sport’s revenues and any new entrant would dilute the pot.

For that reason any new entrant must pay a $200-Million fee to enter, with the money shared by the existing teams as compensation.

Having a new U.S.-owned team in a sport that will have three rounds in the United States this year, including a night race in Las Vegas, might appeal to the sport’s U.S.-based owners Liberty Media.

Andretti, son of 1978 world champion Mario, is already involved in IndyCars, Formula E and Extreme E and has strong brand recognition.

F1 will have a new power unit from 2026, when Audi will turn Swiss-based Sauber into their factory team. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin)