Self-interest shadows Andretti-GM: F1’s 11th team conundrum

General Motors’ recent announcement to build a works engine by 2028 for Andretti-Cadillac’s F1 entry sparked a fresh wave of discussions. Because despite this significant commitment, the existing top teams continue to exhibit a self-serving stance, contributing to the opposition to Andretti’s path to becoming the eleventh team on the grid.

The Andretti-Cadillac partnership, already greenlit by the FIA, finds itself at the mercy of entrenched interests within the sport. The majority of the teams, primarily concerned with their own financial and competitive edges, are fueling the controversy, adding complexity to Liberty Media’s commercial negotiations with the ambitious American project.

Mark Reuss, president of GM, amplified the stakes with his enthusiastic declaration: “I am thrilled that our new Andretti-Cadillac F1 entry will be powered by a GM power unit.” This major endorsement, however, has done little to sway the entrenched perspectives of existing teams, revealing a stark divide between welcoming new innovation and guarding personal interests.

Williams boss James Vowles openly admitted his priorities, saying in Las Vegas, “My view hasn’t changed on the addition of an eleventh team,” linking his opposition to the financial implications for Williams. This sentiment echoes a broader theme among top teams: a reluctance to share the lucrative F1 pie with new entrants.

Mercedes chief and co-owner Toto Wolff’s lukewarm response further underscores this mindset. While acknowledging the need to assess the commercial viability of Andretti’s entry, he emphasized the potential financial dilution for existing teams. “For many teams, it is big dilution that can make the difference between, you know, big losses or less losses,” he stated, highlighting the self-interest driving the resistance.

Ferrari’s Frederic Vasseur added another layer to this narrative. While welcoming GM’s foray into F1, he drew a firm line when it came to Andretti’s entry, indicating that the welcome does not extend to expanding the grid. “It’s not the same story as the eleventh team,” he said, separating the two issues.

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