GM could switch F1 allegiance
By Ian Parkes
Sunday 26th February, 2023 - 6:00am
GM’s desire to enter F1 could yet see it switch allegiance away from Andretti Motorsport, Speedcafe understands.
In early January, the American manufacturing giant caused a stir when it announced its Cadillac brand would partner with Andretti.
After Michael Andretti’s bid to purchase Sauber fell through in late 2021, the former CART champion has since pursued a route to become the 11th team on the F1 grid.
That has been met with considerable resistance by the majority of the 10 current teams who are unwilling to dilute the revenue they receive from F1.
The feeling is that with the sport in arguably the healthiest financial state in its history, there is no need to welcome in a new team.
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, however, stepped in and in early February announced the Expressions of Interest process for prospective new teams had formally opened.
With Cadillac on board, Andretti has expressed confidence he will prevail and finally land a long-coveted place in F1.
The 60-year-old, however, did himself few favours when shortly after the partnership with Cadillac was announced, he accused the current teams of being “very greedy”.
That earned a rebuke from F1 CEO and President Stefano Domenicali who accused Andretti of being “not smart” in airing such thoughts in public.
F1 to raise anti-dilution fee
Andretti faces another major hurdle to his ambitions in that F1 appears set to raise the anti-dilution fee from its current figure of US$200million ($297m) to US$600m ($891m).
The fee is to be paid by a potential new team to secure a place on the grid, with the proceeds split between the 10 incumbents to protect it against an initial dilution of revenues.
The belief is, however, that given the rise in F1’s current market value and those of the teams, there is now a desire to amend the Concorde Agreement accordingly.
It is understood there is universal approval across the board – F1, the teams, and the FIA – to implement the 200 percent increase to the anti-dilution fee.
On that basis, there is a general feeling if the rules are amended, such a figure would scare off any potential newcomer, including Andretti, seemingly thwarting GM’s hopes of joining F1 and going up against long-time market rival Ford.
Ford recently announced its own partnership with Red Bull Powertrains ahead of the introduction of the new power unit rules in 2026.
Speedcafe understands, however, that should Andretti have its F1 plans scuppered by the anti-dilution fee hike, GM would instead seek to partner with a current team.
GM has time on its side
There is a strong desire within GM to join the growing F1 bandwagon, not least given the sport has three grands prix in the United States this year as Las Vegas joins the calendar alongside stalwart Austin and recent newcomer Miami.
At present, the FIA’s Expressions of Interest process closes in April. Beyond that, however, there would follow a long due diligence exercise.
That would then allow F1, the FIA, and the teams the time to amend the Concorde Agreement and impose an anti-dilution fee beyond the reach of all but the most wealthy of corporations.
In turn, it would also afford GM the appropriate time to explore its options.
Speedcafe has contacted GM for official comment and is awaiting a response.
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