‘Devastated’: F1 rejects new Andretti team, fans slam US slapdown

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Formula One announced on Wednesday it had blocked US outfit Andretti’s bid to join the circuit, citing concerns over the team’s level of competitiveness.

Andretti, headed up by 1978 world champion Mario and his son, former McLaren driver Michael, had applied to become Formula One’s 11th team from 2025 or 2026.

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“Our assessment process has established that the presence of an 11th team would not, in and of itself, provide value to the Championship,” Formula One said in a statement.

“The most significant way in which a new entrant would bring value is by being competitive.

“We do not believe that the Applicant would be a competitive participant,” it added.

Andretti Global is the parent company to Andretti Autosport and other Andretti ventures, with teams currently competing in seven series worldwide.

They are most prominent in the IndyCar Series, in which the team fields four cars.

Since Michael Andretti’s involvement, the team has won the Indianapolis 500 five times (2005, 2007, 2014, 2016, 2017) and the overall championship four times (2004, 2005, 2007, 2012).

“While the Andretti name carries some recognition for F1 fans, our research indicates that F1 would bring value to the Andretti brand rather than the other way around,” Formula One said.

“The addition of an 11th team would place an operational burden on race promoters, would subject some of them to significant costs, and would reduce the technical, operational and commercial spaces of the other competitors,” it added.

Andretti’s rejection was widely criticised by fans, who argued it was a surprising move given Andretti’s name recognition, motorsport pedigree and potential for growth in the US.

Motorsport icon Mario Andretti, who won the 1978 F1 world title, tweeted: “I’m devastated. I won’t say anything else because I can’t find any other words besides devastated.”

Audi is scheduled to enter the series in 2026 (taking over Alfa Romeo), while Porsche is also in talks with F1.

There are currently 10 teams in the FIA’s premier series, which is seeking to build on its increased popularity in the United States.

The series added a second race in the United States in 2022 in Miami, which joined the race in Austin, Texas, with Las Vegas joining last year.

“We would look differently on an application for the entry of a team into the 2028 Championship with a GM (general Motors) power unit, either as a GM works team or as a GM customer team designing all allowable components in-house,” Formula One said.

“In this case there would be additional factors to consider in respect of the value that the Applicant would bring to the Championship.”