Formula 1 may be growing.
The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the governing body which oversees motorsport, announced on Thursday the opening of an application process for teams seeking entry into F1. In a statement released on their website, FIA stated that the governing body “welcomes interest from entities with a serious intent to enter the FIA Formula One World Championship. The high level of interest from a number of potential candidates is further proof of the popularity and growth of the Championship.”
The statement further outlined how all applicants will undergo a thorough examination of their financial stability, as well as their ability to handle the rigorous technical aspects of competing in F1:
All applicants will undergo thorough due diligence. The assessment of each application will cover in particular the technical capabilities and resources of the applicant team, the ability of the team to raise and maintain sufficient funding to allow participation in the Championship at a competitive level and the team’s experience and human resources.
According to FIA, teams can seek to begin competing in the 2025, 2026 or the 2027 season.
In addition, applicants will need to demonstrate how they would meet the sustainability challenges imposed by F1, and how they would meet a goal of being net-zero by 2030:
For the first time ever, any candidate would be required to address how it would manage the sustainability challenge and how it plans to achieve a net-zero CO2 impact by 2030. Any prospective F1 team would also need to illustrate how they intend to achieve a positive societal impact through its participation in the sport. This would help meet the mutual aims of the FIA and Formula One Management.
With respect to the size of the field, as well as the status of current teams, FIA included this language in their Call for Expressions of Interest:
For the avoidance of doubt, no new applicant has an automatic right of entry to the Championship and the maximum number of teams competing in the Championship up to and including the 2025 season is capped at 12. 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.
There are currently ten teams on the grid.
FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem issued a statement that said in part: “The growth and appeal of the FIA Formula One World Championship is at unprecedented levels. The FIA believes the conditions are right for interested parties, which meet the selection criteria, to express a formal interest in entering the Championship.”
The Call for Expressions of Interest comes as the future of F1 has become a hot-button topic in the world of motorsport. Weeks ago Andretti Autosport announced to media members including SB Nation the formation of a partnership with General Motors seeking to join F1.
That announcement has touched off a war of words in the sport, with FIA President Ben Sulayem seeming in favor of expanding the field, while other teams already on the grid have started to push back on the idea of expansion. This war of words might ultimately be good for the sport, as it has kept F1 in the conversation during the off-season.
Most recently, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner addressed the idea of expanding the field, calling for a “sensible conversation” about expansion. In an interview with Racer, Horner noted that “to have the Andretti brand and name and Cadillac in Formula 1 would be fantastic, and hopefully a solution can be found.”
However, Horner did point out why existing teams might not be in favor of expanding the field, and as always, it comes down to money. “If you introduce another one or two teams, you dilute the value of the current 10 franchises, which of course teams — particularly down towards the bottom end of the grid — have got a very inflated inherent value at the moment.”
Perhaps the biggest question that remains is this: How many prospective teams take FIA up on their offer to apply? We can be sure that Andretti-Cadillac will be at the forefront, but will another prospective team — or teams — follow suit? In addition to Andretti-Cadillac, Panthera Team Asia F1 has revived their own push for a team on the circuit. Could they also be in the mix for a future spot on the grid?