F1 teams hold right of veto over new entrants to the grid, FIA confirms

The FIA has conceded that any new entrants to Formula One will still be dependent on the permission of F1’s owners and teams as the governing body formally opened the process for new teams to apply.

The FIA president, Mohammed ben Sulayem, said last month that the FIA was evaluating the process of allowing new applications to join the 10 squads. It was met with a lukewarm response from F1 and most teams because it did not explicitly acknowledge that the commercial rights holder and the teams must also agree to any new entrants.

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F1 was understood to be dissatisfied with Ben Sulayem, with whom they already have a somewhat fractious relationship, over his failure to explicitly point out the role F1 and the teams would play. The FIA opened the process officially on Thursday but have included in their documentation a statement acknowledging that F1 and the teams remained ultimate arbiters even if a team meets the FIA’s requirements.

“Existing F1 teams will be given priority over new applicants. In the event that no applicant is considered suitable by the FIA and/or by the F1 Commercial Rights Holder, no new F1 team(s) will be selected,” it said.

The process will be open until 30 April, with any decisions being made by 30 June. No new team will join the grid until 2026 with the potential for a maximum of two new entries that year. The FIA have stipulated a range of requirements including financial resources, technical capability, experience and a commitment to sustainability.

The statement in January encouraged Andretti racing to announce its partnership with Cadillac with a view to entering F1, a pairing that would appear to be more than capable of meeting the FIA’s specifications. However, the sport’s owners and teams remain highly sceptical of new entrants. The principal concern is that newcomers would reduce the financial dividend distributed to the grid without necessarily contributing to increasing it overall.

Any new team would be required to pay an “antidilution fee” of $200m (£163m) to enter, a sum considered by some within the sport, which is booming commercially, as already significantly undervalued.

A major financial commitment will then be required and the sport is wary of accepting any newcomers that would not bring value or fall by the wayside. Haas was the last team to join, in 2016, but the previous three new entrants – HRT, Caterham and Manor – went out of business in relatively short order.