Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali says Andretti is merely the most vocal among a group of several aspiring new teams, and that he doesn’t think the sport needs to expand to increase its value.
Andretti Global’s attempt to enter F1 as a new team has been well-documented after it failed to acquire Sauber last year, but so far those efforts have been met with resistance from F1 and several existing teams. Recently, Toto Wolff’s stance that manufacturers like Audi and Porsche would be welcome but Andretti wouldn’t increase the sport’s value led to Mario Andretti questioning the Mercedes team principal’s influence, but Domenicali says it’s stronger teams that will improve F1 and that many others have also been trying to enter, albeit in a less public manner.
“In the actual status of Formula 1, it’s not a problem of quantity where we can see a step of increasing the value of Formula 1,” Domenicali (pictured above) said. “It’s a matter of understanding not only the ones who have a louder voice but there will be other people, because Andretti was quite vocal about his request, but there are others that have done the same in a different way.
“So the evaluation is not only with Andretti, but the evaluation is with others that are respecting the silence and trying to be more productive on proving who they are and respecting the protocol we have put in place. I do believe, as I always said, that today it’s not the problem of having more teams that will give value to the championship, but there is a protocol that has to be fulfilled and everyone – Andretti included – is following that. So this is the situation today.
“I don’t see any changes, and I don’t want to say yes or no, I just want to highlight one thing. Today we are talking about the regulations in 2026, and all the manufacturers that are involved in that – the incumbents and maybe the new ones, we will see – are saying that the time is running (out) very quickly, to have four years to do another power unit.
“We need to be prudent because when we are talking about Formula 1 — we need to have an entity or a team or a manufacturer that is really solid, is really strong, and has a full commitment for an incredible long-term future. So that’s all I can really add on what is the status (of new teams), but as I said, today I don’t see honestly the need of that increase to have a big value for the sport of Formula 1.”
According to Domenicali, Andretti’s best hope is to partner with an existing team, as the added interest in F1 is likely to reduce the likelihood of a manufacturer leaving and therefore reduce the reliance on independent outfits.
“I think that today (manufacturers pulling out) is not a problem, it’s the other way round,” he said. “We have the same situation as the grands prix — there are more people that want to enter by far than people that want to leave. This is a good point, but can also be seen from the team perspective. If you are not strong… Formula 1 today requires an incredible level of professionalism and investments, not just for one year but long-term.
“Therefore… because there is the interest of a lot of manufacturers but also a lot of teams, the actual (existing) ones can discuss and commercialize and negotiate with them if they feel they are weak, or if they feel there is no future for them. So I think it’s also another value for the ones that are here knowing that around them there are other manufacturers or teams that want to be in the business. So it’s a fact that will – in my opinion of course – reinforce the value of Formula 1.”