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Andretti is the only new team to have expressed an interest to the FIA ​​in joining the F1 grid

FIA president Ben Sulayem tweeted at the start of the month that he would explore the possibility of expanding the F1 grid by inviting expressions of interest from potential new teams.

This was soon followed by Andretti announcing a new partnership with General Motors to form Andretti Cadillac Racing and join the F1 grid in the future.

Andretti’s plans have so far been met with a lukewarm response from the F1 fold, with F1 itself issuing a statement that there were other less visible parties also interested in joining the grid.

Speaking to Motorsport.com at Rallye Monte Carlo about the response to his call for expressions of interest, Ben Sulayem said: “For us directly it’s Andretti,” clarifying that “so far” it was the only party that had come forward. .

Ben Sulayem held meetings with Andretti Global boss Michael Andretti and his father, 1978 world champion Mario, about their F1 plans last year and said he was “very clear” they should work with a major car manufacturer.

While the addition of GM to Andretti’s F1 plans has resulted in some encouragement, with e.g. Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff calls it a “statement”, doubts remain as to how involved the American carmaker would be in F1 through the partnership.

But Ben Sulayem revealed he had a “good meeting” with General Motors president Mark Reuss ahead of the manufacturer’s board giving the go-ahead, questioning how such a big brand could be denied a place on the grid.

“How can we say no to a big producer?” he said. “Talking about the USA, we have three races there, it’s very healthy.

“But I’m elected not to make money, I’m elected to maintain motorsport, clearly.”

Mohammed bin Sulayem, President EMSO (UAE)

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Ben Sulayem has been clear in his desire to bring new teams into F1 and believed that expanding the grid would be beneficial to the series. But many of the existing teams are still concerned about the impact add-on teams would have on their prize money payouts.

“They might say, ‘oh, it’s taking our share of the pie,'” Ben Sulayem said. “Yes, to them – but what do you want? Maybe kick (out) five teams and then you have more money? You can take it either way.

“I want them to succeed, but to get more money and less money … I think the cost cap was effective and we’re trying to make it more effective. Imagine if you have 145 (million) on all .

“But I can’t block a producer. Imagine me doing that. It’s wrong.”

Tensions have also grown in recent days after Ben Sulayem questioned a rumored $20 billion valuation of F1, which he claimed was “exaggerated”.

That prompted F1 management to send a legal letter to the FIA ​​accusing Ben Sulayem of “interfering” with the series’ commercial rights.

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