F1 News: Ben Sulayem hopes for Chinese, US manufacturers to join F1

4 Aug, 2023

After weeks and months of discussion, a final decision on the fate of Andretti, Hitech and the other teams applying to join Formula 1 is expected later this month. Speculation on an 11th team continues to dominate F1 news headlines, so all eyes are on the FIA and FOM.

Since the Concorde Agreement was agreed upon in 2021, there has been some ambiguity surrounding the entry process in F1. At present, there are plenty of uncertainties that need to be clarified.

Stefano Domenicali, F1 CEO, has been relatively consistent in his stance. Generally, the former Ferrari boss has shown hesitance about the prospect of a new team joining and interrupting the current balance.

Most teams on the grid share this perspective, especially considering the rising popularity – and, by extension, profitability – in the pinnacle of motorsport.

This is especially true for teams lower down the pecking order, with the likes of Williams and Haas experiencing significant financial hardships over the last five years.

Ben Sulayem, FIA President, continues to support the push for an 11th team in the field. A final decision between the FIA and FOM will likely result in extensive talks between both sides.

Speaking to motorsport-total, Sulayem outlined the FIA’s role in the application process:

“We pushed back the deadline because some of the teams asked for more time. And we don’t want to exclude anyone.

“We have a contract [with Formula 1] that states that we can have up to twelve teams. We don’t break any rules.

“On the contrary, we follow the rules exactly. The FIA, as the guardian of the rules, has to do everything Judge applications. And that’s what we did.

“Manufacturing team from the USA and a manufacturing team from China. There are 1.4 billion people in China. Over 50% of the electric cars on the road come from China. That’s a fact. China is a big market.”

There is clearly enough demand for more entrants in Formula 1 – it was only ten years ago that twelve teams were on the grid. This fact rarely escapes the numerous F1 news stories surrounding this issue.

However, FOM will want to avoid a repeat of the uncompetitive entries that characterised the early 2010s, as seen with HRT and Caterham.

Andretti’s entry bid with Cadillac clearly shows that big names are willing to invest heavily to earn their place, but a final decision is no less guaranteed for such big-hitters.

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang