Controversy over growth: Formula 1 teams brace themselves against newcomers

Controversy over growth: Formula 1 teams brace themselves against newcomers

The economic success of Formula 1 has awakened the interest of new teams in a starting place. The world association is pushing for expansion. But the resistance has formed in the paddock.

The boom in Formula 1 lures more and more car companies back into the racing series and triggers fierce battles over the billions in horsepower.

The return of Honda as engine supplier for Aston Martin from 2026, which was announced shortly before the Monaco guest appearance, is a further sign of the new attractiveness of the motorsport premier class. However, the fact that the world association Fia soon wants to open the door to the paddock for at least one new racing team has met with great resistance from the ten teams.

As is so often the case, it’s all about the money. “If it reduces the income of the other ten, it would be like voting turkeys for Christmas,” said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner when asked about his vote. This means that if the existing teams are to forego part of the growing income, they want to be fully compensated for it.

The strongest among the applicants known so far is likely to be the American Michael Andretti with the project of the General Motors subsidiary Cadillac. A team called Formula Equal, which will be funded from the Gulf region and will be made up of half women and half men, has also been announced. In Asia, too, there should be at least one prospective customer for a new entry into Formula 1. The application period for the period from 2025 at the Fia expired in mid-May, and a decision should be made by the end of June.

It is already certain that Audi will start with its own team in 2026. But the car manufacturer takes over the Sauber racing team, which is now in Formula 1 as Alfa Romeo. Ford’s commitment as Red Bull’s future technology partner from 2026 onwards and Honda’s comeback bring more heavyweights from the automotive industry to the racing series, but do not change the current order of ten teams.

According to the basic contract between Formula 1 and Fia, there is space for up to twelve racing teams. World Federation boss Mohammed Ben Sulayem recently pushed the expansion of the starting field and above all supported the Andretti application. General Motors is “not just anyone who wants to have an adventure in Formula 1. We have to promote something like that,” said the Fia President.

Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali hits the brakes. When the current basic contract was signed, “nobody expected that the value of this sport would increase so much,” said the Italian. The current bosses now see the $200 million agreed upon as an entry fee for each new team as a bargain. The protection payment would be distributed among the ten racing teams and is intended to compensate for their losses if the marketing income were to be shared among more participants in the future.

Formula 1 owner Liberty Media recently paid out 1.2 billion dollars to the teams, and the trend is clearly rising. The US owners have boosted the sales and value of the series and its teams. Nobody wants to settle for a smaller piece of the pie. “It would be beneficial for all of us if each newcomer could really add something new to the show, expanding our audience or investing a lot of marketing dollars,” said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.

His Haas colleague Günther Steiner is also worried about the cash situation. “Financially everyone is stable. Why should we rock the boat when there is nothing more for us,” said the Italian. You can’t use dreamers, warned McLaren boss Zak Brown.

However, the first decision on new registrations lies with the world association. Red Bull manager Horner therefore brings up a very practical argument: there is no room for an eleventh team at racetracks like Monaco or Zandvoort. “Where should the motorhomes go, where would there be room for the trucks? It would simply be a very difficult thing to accommodate everything, the way the sport has developed,” said world champion Max Verstappen’s boss. At the classic in Monte Carlo, the parties to the dispute could already measure this weekend.

Source: Stern

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