FIA boss agrees with Horner: 'Some teams need a refresh'

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FIA boss joins Horner over Andretti
28 May at 16:30
  • Nicole Mulder

It was a bitter pill for Michael Andretti when he was told that he would not be admitted to the Formula 1 grid with his own team Andretti Cadillac. The FIA also disagreed with the FOM on this. Yet FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem now believes there is a better way for Andretti to enter the premier class, echoing statements of Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner and others.

In the United States, six senators recently called for an investigation into F1' s refusal to allow Andretti Cadillac to become an 11th team. This led to fresh questions to the current team bosses, most of whom did not like the entry of an eleventh team. However, according to Horner, this certainly does not mean that Andretti is not welcome on the grid.

The Red Bull team boss stressed in Monaco that Andretti's team is "absolutely" welcome in Formula 1, but that there may be a better way to achieve that goal. "I think Andretti has great racing heritage. Mario is a legend of the sport. And of course, Cadillac, a huge automotive manufacturer from the US," Horner began.

Horner and FIA boss see alternative to Andretti

"I think Formula 1 has said that if they came up with their own engine in 2028, they would review the decision. But besides that, I think if Andretti wanted to come, it would be better to do it like Audi who took over Sauber. I think to protect the current franchise and stability we have in the sport, the best route to their goal is to take over one of the existing teams," he added.

VCARB CEO Peter Bayer, Alpine team boss Bruno Famin and Alessandro Alunni Bravi, team representative of Stake F1, echo Horner's words. FIA president Ben Sulayem also thinks that taking over an existing team is the best path to F1 for Andretti.

"I would advise them (Andretti Cadillac) to go and buy another team, not to come as the 11th team," the FIA boss is quoted by Reuters. "I feel that some teams need to be refreshed. What is better? To have 11 teams as a number or 10 and they are strong? I still believe we should have more teams but not any teams. The right teams. It’s not about the number, it’s about the quality."

"Without mentioning names, there are teams which are struggling...struggling with performance, struggling even with management. It’s about having the right team, not to lose a chance or an opportunity where someone like GM (General Motors) with a PU (power unit) is coming to Formula One," Ben Sulayem continued.

"Imagine the impact. We have three races in America. We have such a huge fan base. But we don’t have a proper (U.S.) team. I’m so happy to have Ford in (with Red Bull from 2026) but imagine having GM and imagine having American drivers," he added. According to the FIA boss, while this could have a big impact on the sport and certainly on the US market, Andretti would be well advised to take over an existing F1 team.