The team has been very vocal about its desire to join Formula 1 for some time now. An application was first filed in early 2022 with a view to joining the grid in ‘25 or ’26. Since then, the team has been building support from various channels. It announced a partnership with Cadillac, first on a technical and sponsorship level with an aim of having the American manufacturer build its engines by 2028.
However, their bid fell at the final hurdle, with Formula 1 itself blocking the entry on the basis that “the presence of an 11th team, on its own, would not add value” to the sport and that Andretti “would [not] be a competitive participant.”
The Andretti Cadillac outfit has issued a statement in response to the rejection, stating that it “remain[s] committed to placing a genuine American works team in F1.”
They went on to say: “We are proud of the significant progress we have already made… and our work continues at pace.”
Meanwhile, Mario Andretti, the 1978 F1 world champion and father of current team boss Michael Andretti, said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he was “devastated” by F1’s decision. The FIA, who approved Andretti’s application in October last year, issued a short statement saying they were “engaging in dialogue to determine the next steps.”
In October last year, Andretti were the only team to get through the FIA’s rigorous approval process for potential new entries to the sport, which meant the final step was getting approval from the sport and its owners and commercial rights holders, Liberty Media, which ultimately didn’t pan out.
F1 also mentioned concerns around operational and financial strains on race promoters (in other words, the circuits that host the races) of an 11th team. It goes on to claim that a new entrant without an engine manufacturer locked in from the beginning would force one of the existing suppliers to provide customer engines, something it says would be “damaging to the prestige and standing of the championship.”
One thing F1 is clear about is that its decision “did not involve any consultation with the current F1 teams.” However, multiple team bosses, including Mercedes’ Toto Wolff and Red Bull’s Christian Horner, have vocally opposed Andretti’s application on the basis that an 11th team would likely dilute prize money pools available to the existing teams.
It’s a blow for an experienced team which currently races in IndyCar and its Indy NXT feeder series, Formula E and Extreme E, and fields joint entries in the North American IMSA and Australian Supercars series. It also appears a strange decision from the sport’s commercial rights holders when F1 is trying to establish an ever-firmer foothold in the US market, where it currently holds three races and is potentially exploring adding a fourth.
There may be some light at the end of the tunnel for Andretti, however: F1 says it would be more receptive to them joining the grid in 2028 with a General Motors power unit, and it would seem that’s the goal that Andretti Cadillac is now working towards.