Even on the Andretti matter, which has been in the spotlight for months, we can draw a pitiful veil, at least for now. A few minutes ago, Formula 1 officially announced through a statement that it has rejected Andretti’s final candidacy, which, barring a dramatic change of course, will not be on the grid in 2026. There are several reasons that led Formula 1, supported by most teams, to deny the green light to the American giant. Let’s analyze them in detail.
The review process
The areas that Formula 1 had to carefully analyze to determine the legitimacy of the Andretti project were as follows: value for fans, prestige, and reputational value of the sport, competitive balance of the championship, and sport’s sustainability objectives.
After thoroughly examining the issue, Formula 1 has determined that “the presence of an eleventh team would not, in itself, add value to the championship, and that a possible eleventh team should demonstrate that its participation and involvement would bring a benefit.”
“The most significant way a new competitor would add value is by being competitive, especially by competing for podiums and race victories. This would substantially increase fan engagement and enhance the championship’s value in the eyes of key stakeholders and sources of revenue, such as broadcasters and race organizers.”
The Power Unit factor
Another factor that led to the rejection concerns the Power Unit aspect. As already known, Andretti would have relied on General Motors starting in 2028, leaving it uncovered for the 2027 and 2028 seasons: “The request involves an association with General Motors that initially does not include a PU supply, with the ambition of a full partnership with GM as a PU supplier at the right time, but this will not happen for several years.”
“The supply of PU by GM would have increased the credibility of the application from the beginning, even though a novice constructor in collaboration with a new PU supplier would have faced a significant challenge. Most attempts to found a new constructor in recent decades have not been successful.”
Early entry in 2025
According to various reports, Andretti would have pushed to advance entry into Formula 1 already in 2025, the last year of the current regulatory cycle, and then take part in the first year with the new Power Unit regulations: “We do not believe there is a basis for admitting a new candidate in 2025, as this would involve a novice constructor building two completely different cars in the first two years of its existence.”
“Although entry in 2026 would not face this specific problem, it is still true that Formula 1, as the pinnacle of world motorsport, represents a unique technical challenge for constructors, of a nature that the Applicant has never faced in any other formula or discipline in which it has competed before, and proposes to do so with a dependency on a mandatory PU.”
Despite not doubting the seriousness of the project, Formula 1 did not consider Andretti a valid enough candidate to enter immediately with a competitive car: “On this basis, we do not believe that the Applicant can be a competitive participant. The need for any new team to adopt a mandatory Power Unit supply, potentially for several seasons, would be detrimental to the prestige and position of the Championship.”
Furthermore, giving rise to the teams’ motivations, the entry of the American team “would bring value to the Andretti brand rather than the opposite, and would impose an operational burden on race organizers, subjecting some of them to significant costs and reducing the technical, operational, and commercial spaces of other competitors.”