Andretti Renault F1 power unit option ‘expired’
By Mat Coch
Saturday 14th October, 2023 - 1:00pm
Andretti Global no longer holds a contract with Renault for the supply of Formula 1 power units according to Alpine boss Bruno Famin.
Andretti has had its application to enter F1 progress to the next stage following an intensive review of its suitability by the FIA.
Its fate now rests in the hands of the sport’s commercial rights holders, Liberty Media, which has been less than glowing at the prospect of an 11th team on the grid.
The existing teams have expressed their concerns, arguing another entrant dilutes the market to the detriment of its financial health.
However, that position is contrary to an analysis conducted by Speedcafe which suggests the actual impact would be significantly less than some might expect.
Moreover, the majority of the impact would be absorbed by the top-end of pit lane, where there is less pressure and focus on simply paying the bills.
Mercedes, for instance, posted a calendar year gross profit of USD $46.59 million, having received an estimated USD $87.6 million in prize money (its 2022 payments were based on the result of the 2021 constructors’ world championship, which it won).
Another aspect of the reticence within the paddock is the impact on teams’ valuations.
Where once teams were valued in the hundreds of millions, half the grid is now thought to be worth over a billion dollars.
However, much of that growth is a result of the market now viewing the sport as a viable investment vehicle given both its rise in popularity and the spending limits put in place by the cost cap.
Where teams would formerly absorb every available dollar, and often more, the financial regulations offer investors confidence.
As part of its submission to the FIA, Andretti is understood to have provided details of its technical ability, which included the Renault engine deal, along with environmental and social commitments.
Key was its ability to finance the operation to an appropriate level, not a concern for the American company which has backing from General Motors (Cadillac) and Guggenheim Partners, a private equity firm with more than $305 billion in assets to its name.
Part of the technical submission was an agreement with Renault for the supply of power units, however, according to Auto Motor und Sport, that option has lapsed.
“It is true that this preliminary contract with Andretti has expired,” said Famin, Alpine’s CEO and interim F1 team principal.
“It was concluded on the basis that Andretti would get his license earlier. We will only resume discussions if the review process has a positive result is completed.
“In principle, we have nothing against an 11th team if it turns out that it increases the value of the sport,” he added.
“But it is not our job to judge that. We follow the regulations, regardless of whether they are the sporting regulations or the Concorde Agreement acts.”
Famin took on the CEO role shortly before the Belgian Grand Prix, where a cleanout of senior management occurred over the course of the Spa-Francorchamps weekend.
The Renault power unit agreement with Andretti was inked by his predecessor, Laurent Rossi.
Renault is the only one of the four current power unit suppliers that does not have a customer team on the F1 grid.