(GMM) Mohammed Ben Sulayem is 100% confident Formula 1 will find a place on the grid for the new Andretti-Cadillac team.
The FIA president has always been supportive of Andretti’s ambition to become the eleventh team as early as 2025, with the Paris-based federation officially approving the bid last week.
But it is now in the hands of the sport’s owner Liberty Media, with many of the existing ten teams warning of logistical problems as well as a devaluation of their own franchises and disruption to F1’s meteoric growth.
“If Andretti had bought Sauber two years ago, we wouldn’t have a problem now,” said Red Bull boss Christian Horner, according the Swiss newspaper Blick.
However, it is believed Andretti only offered the team currently known as Alfa Romeo $300 million – with Horner believing “six teams are worth over a billion each”.
Veteran F1 journalist Roger Benoit refers to a new public poll that shows an overwhelming 80 percent are in favor of letting Andretti race.
But it is clear the existing teams do not agree.
“It’s as if ten breweries had set up the Oktoberfest, and now an eleventh one comes along and wants a beer tent,” one unnamed boss told Blick.
FIA boss Ben Sulayem, however, is confident the impasse will be resolved.
“I have 100 percent confidence,” he said in Qatar.
“We have basically addressed all the concerns and asked the right questions to Cadillac and Andretti. “When they gave us the answers, there was no reason to refuse them.
“It’s just good for the sport.”
He acknowledged the existing teams’ objection but insisted: “It’s just all about the money. I can’t think of any other reason for criticism.
“But for us, it’s about the sport. You have to keep motorsport alive, while for them, it is only about money.”
Some, though, are predicting an age-old political showdown and war between the FIA – F1’s historical regulatory body – and the current owners of the sport’s commercial rights, Liberty.
“We actually own the championship,” Ben Sulayem insists. “FOM is doing fine, but I am actually a kind of landlord of the sport.
“It is of course logical that the teams first offer resistance, but once it is accepted by one group, the rest usually follow suit. I hope we won’t experience any unnecessary chaos during the admission process.”
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