FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, in a surprising turn of events, has opened the door for new F1 teams.
In a recent post on social media, Ben Sulayem tweeted that he has informed his team in the FIA to look at launching an 'Expression of Interest' process for prospective new teams in F1.
"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."
That comes as a surprise, as the recent advances made by Mario Andretti to enter F1 were thwarted and even opposed by most teams. Moreover, even the FOM president Stefano Domenicali did not show much interest in expanding the number of teams on the grid.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff (alongside Christian Horner and Guenther Steiner) recently shared their disapproval about Andretti being the 11th team on the grid. In an interview with Motorsport.com, Wolff said:
“I think that whoever joins as the 11th team, whoever gets an entry, needs to demonstrate how creative they can be for the business. Andretti is a great name, and I think they have done exceptional things in the US. But this is sport, and this is business, and we need to understand what is it that you can provide to the sport."
“And if an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) or an international, multinational group joins F1 and can demonstrate that they are going to spend X amount of dollars in activating, in marketing in the various markets; that’s obviously a totally different value proposition for all the other teams.”
Mario Andretti called out Toto Wolff for being too powerful for F1
In the same back and forth, Mario Andretti had called out the Mercedes boss and said that Toto Wolff had grown too powerful for the sport. Reacting to a tweet that said "Is Toto Wolff too powerful for F1", Andretti replied by saying "This needed to be said; it's about time".
The announcement comes on the back of the launch of the Andretti Global HQ facility which is expected to be even bigger than Ferrari's in Maranello. During the launch, Michael Andretti, the son of Mario Andretti, said:
“This isn’t about IndyCar. With this, we want to do something that’s never been done before. We want to be in all forms of auto racing, from Le Mans to Monaco to the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500. And eventually in the future, we want it all to be under one roof. That’s our big goal, and we’ve got a lot of plans in the works to get there.”
The latest development should give a boost to Andretti, but it remains to be seen if the Andretti dream turns into reality or not.