Elon Musk, Stefano Domenicali, CEO of the Formula One Group, and Greg Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media talk in the Red Bull Racing garage during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Miami at Miami International Autodrome on May 06, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1: Not enough F1 garages to add 11th team

–by Mark Cipolloni–

Michael Andretti can forget about being approved as the 11th F1 team in time for 2025 like he was hoping for.

Unless he buys an existing team instead, that is only enough garages for 20 cars at 3 or 4 existing circuits.

Speaking on the Walker Webcast, Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei said,There are four or five F1 paddock areas that cannot support an 11th team (22 cars)

“Maybe that’s solvable with money and time. But it’s not something you snap your fingers and solve.”

Liberty Media President and CEO Greg Maffei

Maffei said: “So I think, in the right set of circumstances, we will work to get the 11th team – somebody who could bring a lot of value to the sport, a lot of value to the fans because of their position and technology, the position as an OEM, the position in marketing. Some combination of all that, you could imagine coming to some kind of an agreement.

“Yes, we have accommodated and that will not be a problem in Vegas,” Maffei said. “The real problem is the way the structure works today, there are probably four or five garages and paddock areas that would be difficult to put in an 11th bay. Maybe that’s solvable with money and time, but it’s not something that you snap your fingers and solve.

“The other issue is that the ten teams are splitting the profits that go to the teams, and dividing it 11 ways is not something they’re particularly enthused about. There is a mechanism where there’s a franchise fee where a new entrant would pay, we put that in place with the new Concorde Agreement, and frankly that was a huge change because historically there was no such thing as a franchise fee.

“In fact, the teams were not franchises. F1 had the right – with the (agreement) of the FIA – to add as many new teams as we wanted. But we really wanted to create value in those franchises, we wanted to make the teams worth money so that people would invest and create, hopefully, parity on the track.

“Now the teams are looking and saying ‘Wait a minute, we don’t want to divide 11 ways, we are very happy’ and whatever’s being proposed to pay as a franchise fee doesn’t compensate them enough for the dilution that they’re going to take for the 11the team.

“So I think in the right set of circumstances we would work to get the 11th team. Somebody who could bring a lot of value to the sport, a lot of value to the fans, because of their position in technology, their position as an OEM, their position in marketing – some combination of all that – you could imagine coming to some kind of an agreement. But it’s not without controversy, certainly among the ten teams.”

“Ford is invested in the Red Bull engine process and it’s not inconceivable Ford could get a bigger role. There was certainly talk that General Motors were interested around the Andretti bid for an 11th team, and I think there’s reasons to think that could come about.

“We’ve had other OEMs who could be very interesting as well. Porsche tried very hard to enter with Red Bull, BMW used to be in the sport – left in ’09 – so I think OEMs, we’re lucky that we have so many OEMs, as many as we’ve ever had, but having more OEMs and particularly an American one would certainly be a positive.”

Without that commitment from General Motors to work with Ilmor to produce a Cadillac F1 engine instead of badging the Renault, Andretti may lose his bid.

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