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Why the FIA’s hope for new F1 teams is easier said than done

(Motorsport-Total.com) – The FIA ​​has reignited discussion about adding new teams to Formula 1 in the near future, something many fans have been asking for for some time.

Will Mohammed bin Sulayem’s efforts fail due to resistance from the incumbents?

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The days when Formula 1 teams had to fight to survive are over. Not so long ago, even the number of ten teams was successful – at the end of 2014 there were only nine. So why not open things up and give Formula 1 more cars, more drivers and more action?

It is something FIA President Mohammed bin Sulayem has now publicly considered for the first time. In a tweet sent from his official account on Monday evening, ben Sulayem said he had asked his team at the FIA ​​to “initiate a process for expressions of interest for potential new teams for the FIA ​​Formula 1 World Championship”. .

Even if nothing is officially launched, it is a first step towards a possible enlargement of the starting field. It is understood that this decision was taken to gauge potential interest from new teams and to give the FIA ​​an idea of ​​the level of interest in joining Formula 1.

But bringing an 11th team into Formula 1 will be easier said than done given the many hurdles that still need to be overcome, no matter how hard the potential candidates or the governing body try.

How the bidding process works

Formula 1 is not a series in which all teams can enter. There is a formal procedure that must be followed and adhered to for a candidate to demonstrate their eligibility for a place.

Bin Sulayem has indicated his intention to launch this process, which will begin with calls for expressions of interest as part of the official call for potential candidates.

This process was last initiated in May 2015 when the starting lineup consisted of ten teams. The goal was to find a new team that could be included in the starting lineup for the 2016 or 2017 season to strengthen the starting field.

Romain Grosjean

In 2016, Haas was the last new team to enter Formula 1 Zoom

Although no suitable candidate was ultimately found, the procedure was established by the FIA, which said it would carry out due diligence on candidates who would need to demonstrate four key areas:

a) the technical skills and resources of the team
b) the ability of the team to raise and maintain sufficient financial resources to enable participation in the Championship at a competitive level
c) the experience and human resources of the team
d) the FIA’s assessment of the value the applicant may have for the championship as a whole

Formula 1 does not want a new Caterham or Manor scenario

Point B was particularly important at this stage. Six months earlier, Caterham had collapsed and Manor had barely survived, struggling until the end of the 2016 season before finally giving up.

Once the FIA ​​has received applications to participate on the grid and has completed its due diligence through inspections and interviews, a decision will be made whether to allow or reject a team.

The last team to complete the tender process was Haas, which received approval in the spring of 2014. The team was originally scheduled to start in 2015, but was pushed back to 2016 to give the team time to set up its operations. Without a doubt, it was a success that confirmed the criteria and the procedure of the FIA.

Andretti’s ambitions

News that the FIA ​​is considering expanding the grid will have sparked great interest across the Atlantic as Michael Andretti pushes to add a Formula 1 team to the family dynasty.

Andretti has expressed his intention to create a Formula 1 team for almost a year now. In Miami, he announced that he planned to create a headquarters in Indianapolis that would be able to lead such a team even without registration.


Nimmervoll on the 11th team: ”Must please the other teams”

Christian Nimmervoll talks about a possible eleventh team in Formula 1.

He has been persistent and has attended many Formula 1 races over the past year to speak to those who would be involved in the process, including FIA President bin Sulayem.

However, the big problem with all of this was that there was no formal process to follow. No matter how much Andretti wanted to communicate to the FIA ​​and other teams that one could be accepted into Formula 1, there was no mechanism that would have made this possible without a specific call for expressions of interest.

Andretti’s sticking point: are you offering enough benefits?

Even though everyone pulled together and the proposal had the makings of a great Grand Prix team, the door was locked. That seems to be changing now. Bin Sulayem’s plan, if implemented, will open the door and give the green light to those interested in coming forward. So you can be sure that Andretti will be in the lead.

In view of the above criteria, there is little doubt about Andretti’s technical abilities and resources, given his accomplishments in IndyCar, Supercars and sports car racing, or his experience and human ressources.

According to Andretti, the funding question is also easy to answer by using the current American Formula 1 boom to find sponsors and partners. But point D will be the sticking point, particularly when it comes to bringing in Formula 1 and the existing ten teams – something that must be achieved no matter how much the FIA ​​wants to widen the field.

The $200 Million Question

The possibility of a new American team entering Formula 1 has rightly excited fans. Andretti said in Miami in May that “millions of people are welcoming him”, but he admitted it was “just not the right people right now”.

By that he meant the other teams. So far only McLaren and Alpine have publicly declared their support for Andretti’s Formula 1 plan. McLaren CEO Zak Brown is close to Andretti, having raced in the 2017 Indianapolis 500 with Fernando Alonso, while his United Autosports team works with Andretti in both Extreme E and Supercars.

Michael Andretti, Zak Brown

Michael and Mario Andretti in conversation with McLaren CEO Zak Brown at the 2019 United States Grand Prix Zoom

Alpine owner Renault has been swapped as a likely engine partner for Andretti’s eventual entry into Formula 1. Renault currently only supplies engines to its own works team, Alpine, since all customers have abandoned McLaren, Red Bull and AlphaTauri in the recent past.

Existing teams fear financial loss

The other eight teams accepted Andretti’s offer to enter Formula One lukewarm at best, largely because of the financial implications it would have for them.

In Formula 1, team earnings are currently distributed in the form of prize money based on championship standings and fixed amounts divided by ten. As part of the recent Concorde deal signed in 2020, this has been made fairer to ensure all teams get a more equal slice of the pie.

The concern for teams is that by adding an 11th team, each team will need to receive a 10% discount on their return, which means that it must be demonstrated that the new entrant on the grid adds value and basically compensates for it.

As Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said: “When a team arrives, how can you prove that it makes more money than it actually costs?”

Uncertain teams: 200 million even high enough?

Formula 1 tried to counter this by including a dilution fund in the Concorde deal, which meant that each new entrant would have to pay $200 million just to enter the grid. However, this does not apply to team takeovers as in the case of Audi and Sauber, as the existing team is only continued under a different name.

This amount is to be distributed among the existing teams to compensate for the ten percent reduction. But less than two years after the agreement, calls were already made to remove this obstacle.

“The dilution fund was established a few years ago when the value of Formula 1 was different,” Haas team boss Günther Steiner said in June. “I think one of the questions will be whether we should adjust it to the current market value, which is much higher than that. But I think it’s a very difficult process.”

Getting all ten teams on their side will be the biggest challenge for the FIA ​​as it aims to bring a newcomer to the grid. Although the FIA ​​is the governing body, this process would be joint with the commercial rights holder, Liberty Media, and the existing teams. All parties would have to be happy with the compromise for this to happen.

Does Formula 1 need an eleventh team?

Formula 1 has made it clear that it is open to accepting a new team, but only if it can demonstrate clear added value for the championship as a whole.

In August, Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said it was “not a problem of quantity” and that he saw “no weakness in the number of teams in Formula 1”. He felt that the current strength of the starting field should allay any fear of making up for the loss of existing teams – a fear stemming from the demise of Caterham, Manor and HRT.

“We need a company, a team or a manufacturer that is really solid and strong and fully committed to an incredible long-term future,” Domenicali said days before Audi announced that he would be an engine manufacturer in Formula 1 from 2026 to enter – no doubt a major blow for the series.


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Other parties may also come forward as part of the call for expressions of interest, including perhaps those that Domenicali says would be less vocal in his August speech.

Porsche is considering the next steps after the failure of its planned partnership with Red Bull and bringing a big OEM name like this to the grid would clearly be something that could bring the desired added value to Formula 1 for all potential new teams. .

As exciting as the prospect of a new team and more drivers on the grid can be for fans, there is still a long way to go before anything can be committed. Bin Sulayem took the first small step in this direction.

If plans go ahead, one of the big political stories in Formula 1 in 2023 could turn out to be whether the existing status quo plans to free up another seat at the table and under what conditions that would be possible. .

#FIAs #hope #teams #easier

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