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FIA formally opens process for new F1 teams to join the grid

The FIA has formally opened the process for new teams to join the Formula 1 grid in the next few years.

Starting grid

Following FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem’s statement earlier this year that he wanted the governing body to evaluate the idea, documents have now been formally published for interested parties to express their interest in joining.

In a statement issued on Friday, the FIA said it would evaluate the potential of new teams based on “rigorous financial and technical analysis” as well as “sustainability and positive societal impact criteria.”

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The FIA explained that each application would need to prove its technical capability and resources, including funding levels, as well as its relevant experience.

Furthermore, candidates will have to address how they would manage sustainability factors in the push for F1 to become carbon neutral from 2030.

The earliest a new team would be able to join the grid would be 2025, with prospective entrants needing to pay non-refundable $20,000 admin fee when expressing interest.

Speaking about the launch of the new team process, Ben Sulayem, said: "The growth and appeal of the FIA Formula 1 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.

"For the first time ever, as part of the selection conditions, we are requesting that candidates set out how they would meet the FIA’s sustainability benchmarks and how they would make a positive societal impact through sport.

"The process is a logical extension of the positive acceptance of the FIA’s 2026 F1 Power Unit Regulations from engine manufacturers which has attracted Audi to Formula 1 and created interest among other potential entrants."

The FIA expects that the formal process to understand the viability of new entrants will last until 30 April.

It then says any decision about a new team being given the green light will be made by 30 June.

It was also made clear in the FIA documents that a final call is not just down to the governing body.

"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," it said.

"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."

Ben Sulayem’s statement earlier in the year, suggesting new team bids were to be considered, triggered the Andretti Global organisation to go public with its plans to tie-up with Cadillac for a move in to F1.

But while Andretti’s ambitions have excited the FIA, they have not yet completely won over potential rivals on the grid, nor F1 owners Liberty Media.

Current entrants and FOM are eager to better understand the benefits that a new F1 team will bring.

This is especially important for the ten squads on the grid at the moment, who would risk seeing their share of the commercial rights income diluted by having new teams enter.

Haas was the last new team to join the F1 grid in 2016

Haas was the last new team to join the F1 grid in 2016

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

New Williams team principal James Vowles said last month that it was key any effort to bring new entrants in was solely motivated by growing the sport – and did not risk destabilising the status quo.

"We're always open to the sport growing, but the truth behind it is the sport financially needs to become more and more successful,” he said.

"Whoever joins in that environment needs to bring with it effectively the growth that is required in order for everyone else to be in a better position, or at least a neutral position.

"And I think it's been the statement from the outset, from the beginning.

"There are a lot of lovely things about Andretti and about Cadillac. It just needs to have a good understanding of how it will grow the sport, in what way, and what the growth will be."

Any decision about new teams joining the grid has to be made jointly with both the FIA and FOM.

Speaking to Autosport at the recent Monte Carlo rally, Ben Sulayem said that Andretti had so far been the only organisation that had directly shown an interest.

"To us directly, it’s Andretti," he said about it being "up to now" the only party to have come forward.

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