After recent comments from Alpine interim team boss Bruno Famin, the FIA President offered guarantees to Andretti regarding F1 engine supply.
Various media sources have extensively covered Andretti’s process to enter the F1 grid. The journey began a few years ago when the American company made attempts to buy Sauber. Negotiations were advanced but eventually collapsed.
After this failed takeover bid, resources were re-diverted into joining F1 as an independent outfit. This process is a complex and difficult one, although there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel.
The FIA accepted Andretti’s application, forwarding the American group to discussions with FOM (Formula One Management). In these talks, commercial and financial issues will be discussed.
Over the last eighteen months, money has created the biggest point of objection amongst existing teams. Simply put, an 11th team would dilute the annual prize fee – something team principals have objected to.
In addition to this, a point of contention will be who supplies Andretti’s engines. Their previous agreement with Alpine expired, so there is no definitive engine partner for 2025.
However, FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem makes clear that regulations protect the American outfit in this situation:
“It works that, with the rules, nobody can say no to them,” he told the media.
“If all the teams say no, then the FIA has the power to go and tell the two [engines] being used, then we put them in a draw. And we take one.
“It’s not a secret, and I’m sure it is either Alpine or Honda. It would need to put in a request before June 1st, prior to its entry.”
Whilst this offers Andretti a baseline level of protection (If FOM accepts them), it shows the awkward nature of their entry. A variety of factors have complicated their journey to competing at the pinnacle.
A final decision should be reached before the end of 2023, although there are still question marks on this procedure.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang