FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has given an update surrounding the timeline for the final decision on prospective new teams that want to join Formula 1 but warns that the federation “cannot manipulate anything” in the bid to expand the current grid.
Back in February, the FIA opened the application process for prospective new F1 teams, which would allow the federation to identify one or more new teams to join the current grid.
At the forefront of the ongoing saga has been the Andretti Cadillac, with Michael Andretti having publicly voiced his desire to join the championship while facing opposition from the teams that make up the current grid.
Among Andretti, it’s reported four other teams have submitted an application, while the current Sporting Regulations allow for a total of twelve teams.
And now the FIA President has provided an update on the timeline for these prospective teams, saying a final decision should be made within the next “four to six” weeks, which F1 will also be involved in.
“I hope we can make the announcement next month,” Ben Sulayem told Formula.hu.
“We are talking about serious people and we don’t want to exclude anyone without a thorough review of the applications we have received.
“We are talking about big names and big money. I think the letter of intent (idea) was the right decision and the contract says that there can be 12 teams in the F1 field.
“Of course, we don’t want just any team, we want A teams and we need a car manufacturer: I prefer manufacturers because it would be good for the sport.
“We’ve taken our time, the FIA team has worked very hard on the letter of intent, we’ve had meetings with the teams to review their bids and I think we’ll have a final decision in four to six weeks.”
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has previously hinted that the entry cost for new teams could rise, while Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has been vocal about the logistics of fitting an 11th team into the paddock and onto the track.
“It’s obviously a political and financial issue,” Ben Sulayem added.
“But it’s clear to me that the FIA has to respect the treaties and we are regulated by the EU. We cannot manipulate anything.
“If a team is interested and our rules say we can have so many teams, how can we say no?
“I understand the concerns of other teams, especially the financial part of it, the distribution of it, but I am not here to upset anyone, I am here to do the right thing for the sport.
“We’re happy to sit down with everybody and give advice, but we can’t say to a big team that wants to come into F1, go and buy a stable or you can’t come. I think that’s wrong.”