Formula One’s governing body is ready to start a process for new teams to enter the championship, president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said on Monday.
The move could open the door to American Michael Andretti’s ‘Andretti Global F1 project’, which has so far met little encouragement from most existing teams and Formula 1 management.
Hong Kong-based billionaire Calvin Lo has also talked of entering a team.
“I have asked my @FIA team to look at launching an Expressions of Interest process for prospective new teams for the FIA @F1 World Championship,” International Automobile Federation (FIA) head Ben Sulayem posted on Twitter.
US-owned Haas is the most recent, completely new, Formula One team to enter, debuting in 2016 when the sport had 11 teams until the demise of Manor Racing before the start of the 2017 season.
Manor was one of three new outfits, all now defunct, who entered in 2010.
Formula One chief executive Stefano Domenicali said last September that the sport, which could have a record 24 races this year and is growing in global popularity, did not need more than 10 teams.
McLaren and Renault-owned Alpine have been supportive of Andretti’s plans but other teams have questioned the commercial benefit of a new entrant.
The current version of the ‘Concorde Agreement’ between teams, FIA and Formula One stipulates that the 10 teams split their share of the sport’s revenues and any new entrant would dilute the pot.
For that reason any new entrant must pay a $200 million fee to enter, with the money shared by the existing teams as compensation.
Having a new US-owned team in a sport that will have three rounds in the United States this year, including a night race in Las Vegas, might appeal to the sport’s US-based owner Liberty Media.
Andretti, son of 1978 world champion Mario, is already involved in IndyCars, Formula E and Extreme E and has strong brand recognition.
Formula One will have a new power unit from 2026, when Audi will turn Swiss-based Sauber into its factory team.
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