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Series CEO Throws Cold Water on Idea of Andretti in F1 – autoweek.com

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Stefano Domenicali adds that Michael Andretti’s group is not the only one trying to bring an 11th team to Formula 1.
Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali says that Michael Andretti is just the most vocal of possible new entrants, and has emphasized his belief that there is little value in expanding the grid.
Formula 1 has had 10 teams throughout Liberty Media’s ownership of the championship that began in late 2016, but Andretti has been public in trying to find a way onto the grid. He even attempted to acquire a majority stake last year in Sauber Motorsport, which runs Alfa Romeo Racing, but a potential deal collapsed amid control issues.
Andretti subsequently revealed plans in February to enter its own Formula 1 team in 2024. The operation has begun investing and developing a project based out of Indianapolis, has a potential engine supply deal with Renault, but does not yet have an entry on the grid.
Formula 1’s governing body, the FIA, has not yet opened a tender process while some other existing teams have met Andretti’s bid with resistance owing to their concern that their team’s value, and financial income, could be challenged. After all, splitting up the prize fund by 11 teams instead of 10 means a smaller piece of the pie for everyone.
“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,” said Domenicali during a roundtable session with media, including Autoweek. “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
“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.”
Ultimately the final decision will not be made by Domenicali, Formula 1 or the other teams, but by the FIA, under its President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.
However, one fundamental aspect controlled by Formula 1 is the composition of the race calendar, which could feature as many as 24 Grands Prix next year.
Domenicali finally confirmed the much-expected news that France’s Grand Prix has now fallen by the wayside, though he did offer a potential olive branch to Belgium.
Belgium’s Circuit de Spa Francorchamps—widely regarded as one of the best tracks in the world—is out of contract after this weekend’s event, but Domenicali suggested a 2023 stay was possible.
“I saw some comments that I said Belgium will be the last year—I would be prudent on that comment, I would be very prudent, that’s the only thing I would say,” he outlined. “[What] we [as F1] have discussed is to find the mix of races where we’re going to have at least one third in Europe, one third in the Far East area and the other one in the Americas and Middle East. So we want to be balanced.
“Of course, we are talking about a business where investments and financial contributions are very important but we have always said that the traditional races—the races that we know cannot bring the money that others are bringing – have full respect from us.  You will see this will be respected also, not only this year, but also in the future. With Belgium the discussions are still ongoing.”
Formula 1 is also still striving to return the championship to South Africa, which last featured back in 1993.
“Discussions are going on, as you can imagine when we’re talking with new promoters and when we’re looking for a very solid and long-term commitments—because we cannot be there for one year and then game over—it’s a situation that is taking time. So I think we are going to clarify this situation in the next days, but for sure the commitment to be in Africa is something we want to take, but we want to take it right.”
Formula 1 has agreements in place to return to Qatar in 2023, visit Las Vegas for the first time, while it also has a contract with China, depending on the COVID-19 arrangements in the country.

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