Following a statement released by Formula One Management (FOM) announcing the decision to reject Andretti Cadillac’s proposal to join the F1 grid, the motorsport organizations expressed they “strongly disagree” with its assessment, which left Mario Andretti devastated by the news.
“I won’t say anything else because I can’t find any other words besides devastated,” the motorsport living legend added.
I'm devastated. I won't say anything else because I can't find any other words besides devastated. pic.twitter.com/UaFBC5n9qF— Mario Andretti (@MarioAndretti) January 31, 2024
Soon after came the joint response issued by Andretti Cadillac to the Formula One Management (FOM) statement released earlier in the day.
“Andretti Cadillac has reviewed the information Formula One Management Limited has shared and strongly disagree with its contents,” it reads.
Adding: “Andretti and Cadillac are two successful global motorsports organizations committed to placing a genuine American works team in F1, competing alongside the world’s best.
“We are proud of the significant progress we have already made on developing a highly competitive car and power unit with an experienced team behind it, and our work continues at pace.”
“Andretti Cadillac would also like to acknowledge and thank the fans who have expressed their support.”
A year ago, the FIA officially launched the call for Expression of Interest for prospective new teams looking to “participate at a competitive level in the FIA Formula One World Championship.”
Early in January, Andretti Global and General Motors (GM), represented by the Cadillac brand, confirmed their partnership, pursuing the opportunity to compete at the pinnacle of motorsport.
Last October, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) approved Andretti’s Expression of Interest application for Andretti Cadillac to compete in the FIA Formula One World Championship, progressing into the next stage, referring the Andretti Formula Racing LLC candidacy to FOM for commercial discussions, eventually denying its entry, but leaving on the table a possibility for admission in 2028.
Throughout an extensive announcement, the FOM addresses the decision to shut the door to the American squad’s proposal to become the 11th team on the Formula 1 grid by 2025.
“The presence of an 11th team would not, on its own, provide value to the Championship,” it stressed.
“The most significant way a new entrant would bring value is by being competitive. In particular, by competing for podiums and race wins.”
Competitiveness vs Engine Supplier
“We would look differently on an application for the entry of a team into the 2028 Championship with a GM power unit, either as a GM works team or as a GM customer team designing all allowable components in-house,” the statement remarks.
“In this case, there would be additional factors to consider, in respect of the value that the Applicant would bring to the Championship, in particular in respect of bringing a prestigious new OEM to the sport as a PU supplier.”
“Having a GM PU supply attached to the Application at the outset would have enhanced its credibility.”
In November, General Motors officially confirmed its registration with the FIA as a Formula 1 power unit manufacturer starting in the 2028 season.
Meanwhile, the first couple of years competing in the series would see the American team running with a different engine supplier.
The analysis adds: “The Applicant proposes, as a novice constructor, to design and build a car under the 2025 regulations and then in the very next year to design and build a completely different car under the 2026 regulations. The fact that the Applicant proposes to do so gives us reason to question their understanding of the scope of the challenge involved.”
In 2026, the FIA next-gen hybrid powertrain regulations will come into effect focused on greater electrification - featuring a single 350 kW electric motor - using 100 percent advanced sustainable synthetic fuel.
“While a 2026 entry would not face this specific issue, it is nevertheless the case that Formula 1, as the pinnacle of world motorsport, represents a unique technical challenge to constructors of a nature that the Applicant has not faced in any other formula or discipline in which it has previously competed, and it proposes to do so with a dependency on a compulsory PU supply in the initial years of its participation,” it notes.
“On this basis, we do not believe the Applicant would be a competitive participant.”
The American brand competes in seven series around the globe, including the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, Extreme E, IMSA, and INDY NXT.
Regardless, the commercial assessment determined: “While the Andretti name carries some recognition for F1 fans, our research indicates that F1 would bring value to the Andretti brand rather than the other way around.”
Moreover, the name Andretti embodies a reach legacy built by Mario Andretti, one of the greatest drivers of all time, standing to this day as the only driver in history to win the Daytona 500 (1967), the iconic Indy 500 (1969), and the FIA F1 World Championship in 1978.
Over the years, he added four IndyCar titles to his name, becoming a three-time winner of the 12 Hours of Sebring (1967, 1970, 1972), adding a triumph in 1972 in the 24 Hours of Daytona to a stellar list of achievements on the track.
He also contested the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans several times, scoring his best result in 1995, finishing in second place.
The talented, skillful driver became an icon, a referent synonymous with motorsport.
His son, Michael, would also become a professional driver, albeit his major success would come through his business skills leading Andretti Autosport, founded in 1994, and the rest, as they say, is history.
For its part, Cadillac’s motorsport pedigree spans over a century, holding a strong presence in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, having entered the series in 2017.
Ever since, the brand has built successful campaigns with the Cadillac DPi-V.R, recording victories and podiums, which led to achieving championships.
Last year, it developed the 5.5L DOHC V-8 powertrain used in the 2023 IMSA and WEC seasons, securing a podium finish at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans with Cadillac Racing.
This season, it will continue to compete in IMSA globally with its all-new hybrid Cadillac V-LMDh and in the FIA World Endurance Championship.