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Domenicali hints at increased entry costs for new F1 teams

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has given the strongest hint yet that the cost of entry for new teams is likely to rise above the currently prescribed level.

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23, the rest of the field at the start

The FIA launched an entry process in February that is still open and is scheduled to produce an outcome in June after all bids have been examined.

At the moment, if accepted, a new entrant has to pay a $200m 'anti-dilution fee' that is shared between the 10 existing teams.

Officially that number is meant to reflect the potential losses each team will incur with an extra team taking a slice of the F1 income pie.

It is also said by some sources to be related to the approximate bottom-end value of a team such as Williams at the time the last Concorde Agreement was signed.

However, helped by the cost cap, Drive to Survive and a strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the sport is now in a much healthier state than when the $200m figure was agreed upon, and team values have risen accordingly.

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The incumbent teams have been pushing for a new number that in effect equates the cost of entry with the theoretical value of an existing operation, with figures as high as $600m being mentioned.

Domenicali, who has always maintained that any new team must add value to the sport, stressed that times have changed since the original figure was agreed upon.

"The process of having another team has been launched by the FIA," Domenicali told F1 investors. "In our governance, in our Concorde, there's a possibility to do it.

"But the evaluation has to be done together to see from the technical perspective, from the sporting perspective, for the financial stability, and to make the bigger picture, if a new team will give value to the league, to the sport. And there will be a different position.

Stefano Domenicali, CEO Formula 1

Stefano Domenicali, CEO Formula 1

Photo by: Erik Junius

"And I go back to one point, the so-called anti-dilution payment was done at $200 million, just a couple of years ago. Because at that time no one would have expected that the value of this business would rise up so much.

"Today the situation is totally different, for sure. And it's our duty to make sure that we protect the business the best way that we can, and have a bigger picture."

While the Andretti/Cadillac bid is the best known, Domenicali stressed that several potential entrants have indicated an interest.

"Today, there's so many that would like to come," he said. "There are teams that are more vocal than others, some of them are much more silent, but they are really expressing their interest.

"As always in life someone has to make that evaluation. And we're part of this process, and we're going to do the right thing at the appropriate time through this year."

Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei backed Domenicali's sentiments and noted how the value of teams has risen.

"Back to the point about the $200m," he said. "Manor was the 11th team. And just before we bought into F1 [in late 2016], it went into administration in the UK, and got sold for £1. The world has changed dramatically."

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