Make no mistake about it, the announcement yesterday that Cadillac is teaming with Andretti Global to enter a team in Formula 1 is huge.
It’s huge for Andretti.
It’s huge for Cadillac.
It’s huge for F1.
It’s huge for the American Racing Fans.
Assuming the team gets approved by the FIA, and we have no doubt they will be approved, we expect to see them on the grid by 2025, or 2026 at the latest.
Since it was announced Thursday that Cadillac would be working with an existing engine manufacturer, one can assume in a badging arrangement, we expect the deal will be with Renault if the team starts to race in F1 in 2024 or 2025.
It would not be Honda because Honda already has an exclusive deal with Red Bull through 2025 and Andretti already announced they had signed a deal with Renault, though we don’t know the specifics.
The Renault deal was signed before Cadillac was in the picture, and it’s possible Renault may not want anyone badging their engines, though we suspect for a price anything is possible.
If the team decides they will wait until the new engines rollout in 2026, then there are a few options.
It is possible Cadillac may decide to badge a Renault or a Honda engine for many years. That of course assumes Honda decides to remain in the sport in some capacity.
What is curious about what was said by GM CEO Mark Reuss Thursday was that GM will support the team with ‘combustion’ elements out of its technical center in Warren, Michigan.
I found that rather odd, why would they support Andretti Global with Internal Combustion Engine Camber R&D if they are badging a Renault or a Honda?
Both Renault and Honda are quite capable of doing their own combustion chamber R&D.
Educated Guess – Cadillac/Ilmor Engine Coming
I think, and I admit I am guessing here, that GM/Cadillac may be considering doing their own engine with a partnership similar to what they have with their Chevy IndyCar engine.
Ilmor designs and builds the Chevy IndyCar engine in England, but the Warren, Michigan Technical Center contributes to that engine, with, among other things, ‘combustion’ chamber R&D.
I suspect Andretti, Cadillac and GM are considering doing an F1 engine with Ilmor, as Ilmor has F1 engine design experience, and the Warren Center will be partnered with Ilmor.
That was not stated yesterday because I think Andretti still wants to be on the grid before 2026 and to accomplish that it will just be a badging deal with Renault for a year or two.
Then starting in 2026, I could see a Cadillac/Ilmor designed engine sitting in the back of the Andretti F1 cars, making it a true American effort.
More than the Engine
Reuss also said at the Press Conference that GM/Cadillac would help the Andretti team with Aerodynamic testing and design, and Chassis Design.
So if anyone thinks Cadillac is doing this just to badge an engine, they are wrong. Cadillac is going to be a big part of this truly all-American F1 team in more ways than one.
“Our commitment to this program goes beyond the Cadillac livery,” said Reuss.
“GM’s vast engineering resources will bring proven success and valuable contributions to this partnership.
“This includes all the talent and capabilities of GM Racing staff and facilities of GM Racing at the Warren Tech Center and North Carolina as well as the expertise of our engineers and designers in the areas like combustion, battery technology, turbocharging, vehicle integration and the list goes on and on.
“Today is the first step in what we hope will be the historic entry of General Motors into F1. It has never happened in our history.
“It is very, very exciting for us to be with Andretti. Given the opportunity, GM and Cadillac will compete with the very best at the very highest levels with passion and integrity that will continue to elevate the sport for FIA and race fans around the world.”
F1 is booming in American and this effort will take F1, Andretti and Cadillac to new heights not only in America, but worldwide.
It will take a while. No one has any illusions that success will come immediately.
Let’s just hope they make America proud.
Mark Cipolloni (aka Mark C.) reporting for AutoRacing1.com