Christian Horner didn’t beat around the bush, confirming the open secret that the only thing stopping Formula 1 from receiving Andretti-Cadillac with open hands is Money.
The matter of Andretti-Cadillac’s F1 bid is still developing within the sport’s quarters with FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem pushing hard for the American venture to enter F1, while the sport management and teams are, seemingly, not so excited about it.
Michael Andretti claimed the teams were greedy, and while Toto Wolff has always been a staunch adversary to the American’s F1 plans, the Austrian has recently admitted having General Motors and Cadillac on board was a “statement”.
Now, Red Bull boss, Christian is having his say about the matter speaking in a recent interview with Racer, and was naturally asked to give his two cents on the matter.
“Look, Andretti is a great brand, a great team,” Horner began. “Mario, what he did in Formula 1 — as an American as well — is fantastic. Obviously GM with Cadillac as well would be two phenomenal brands to have in the sport, and I don’t think there can be any dispute about that.”
The elephant in the room…
“As with all these things though, it ultimately boils down to, ‘Well, who’s going to pay for it?’ And you can assume that the teams, if they’re perceived to be the ones who are paying for it – or diluting their payments to accommodate it – of course it’s not going to sit that well,” Horner explained.
As for the team supporting the Andretti-Cadillac bid, the Briton reasoned: “The two teams that are supporting it (McLaren and Alpine) either have a partnership in the U.S. with them, or are going to supply them an engine. The other eight are saying, ‘Well hang on, why should we dilute our element of the prize fund?’
“Then on the other side you’ve got the Liberty (Media) guys saying, ‘Well we’re not going to pay for it, we’re happy with 10 healthy, competitive franchises from an operational perspective — garages, logistics, motorhomes — it’s all more to accommodate.’ I’m sure they would prefer the Audi model, where they come in and acquire an existing franchise.
“If you introduce another one or two teams, you dilute the value of the current 10 franchises, which of course teams — particularly down towards the bottom end of the grid — have got a very inflated inherent value at the moment.
“I hope a solution can be found,” Horner insisted. “What would be cleaner would be if they were able to take on one of the existing teams or franchises, but they are certainly both great brands that would be very, very welcome in Formula 1.”
The FIA president’s position on Andretti-Cadillac
As for the stance of FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem on the matter, Horner said: “This view would be common to any team — it’s irrelevant.
“As I said, to have the Andretti brand and name and Cadillac in Formula 1 would be fantastic, and hopefully a solution can be found.
“You can understand the FIA, they’ve got no financial consequence of this because they don’t participate in the prize fund, and they’d receive further entry fees for more teams coming in,” the Red Bull boss continued. “So you can understand the FIA potentially wanting more teams on the grid.
“But I think they need to find alignment with the commercial rights holder, and the 2026 Concorde Agreement would seem the right place to deal with that.
“It just needs all parties to have a sensible conversation and agree something that is practical and workable,” the 49-year-old concluded.
It would be interesting to see how the FIA and the F1’s commercial rights holder find alignment in the light of the latest power struggle between both parties after Ben Sulayem’s comments about F1 value, which prompted Liberty Media to respond with a legal letter to the sports governing body.
Interesting times ahead…