Andretti and Cadillac may be one step closer to joining the Formula 1 grid in 2026, as reports emerge that the FIA has rejected three other teams vying for the opportunity. The Andretti-General Motors bid is thought to have reached the final stage.
There were initially understood to be four outfits in the running to become the 11th entry in F1. These included two F2 teams looking to make the jump to the big leagues: Hitech and Rodin Carlin. The other was from a new Asian start-up effort named Lkysunz.
The General Motors-supported bid by motorsport veteran Michael Andretti was thought to be the strongest contender for a potential 11th spot. However, not all of the existing teams are happy with the prospect of splitting their prize money with another entrant.
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Each Formula 1 team receives a portion of the prize pot gained from the sale of the sport’s commercial rights according to where they finish in the championship. Other bonuses are added for continued success. But, with the potential introduction of an 11th team to the grid, it would dilute the payouts considerably.
While a new team would have to stump up a $200 million dilution fee to help offset lost earnings, some still feel that figure is insufficient. Autosport reports that Lkysunz announced that they were prepared to up the dilution fee to $600 million if accepted, thanks to backing from a new Florida-based billionaire. The news, however, was met with surprise in the paddock, as Lkysuz staff had reportedly been informed that the company’s bid had already been rejected.
Motorsport-Total.com suggests that Rodin Carlin, Hitech, and Lkysunz were told that the information submitted was not sufficient for a positive evaluation. When asked, the FIA would not confirm whether the teams had been turned down.
It’s still unclear exactly how the teams may have been rejected, but it’s understood that the FIA requires not only financial assurances but a plan that the project can achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2030. Lkysunz is said to have submitted further documents in a last-ditch attempt, but the deadline for the tender had passed. The FIA considers the rejection final.
Meanwhile, it’s no secret that F1 has been desperately trying to break into the U.S. market, and it finally seems to have done so. A combination of the hit Netflix show Drive To Survive, making the sport more accessible, and a record three races in the U.S., including new venues in Miami and Las Vegas, means that America is a hot property for F1 right now. Adding a beloved team of U.S. origin would undoubtedly make commercial sense.
No new outfit has joined the grid since 2016, when Haas was accepted. But Andretti’s bid is thought to be the most promising of the lot. In addition to the support from GM, it has the outward backing of FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, who welcomed the news of the entry via Twitter.
Formula 1 is going through a purple patch of interest from manufacturers of late. Audi announced recently that it would enter F1 through its partnership with the Sauber F1 team, while Porsche expressed interest in partnering with Red Bull last year, though that deal fell through at the 11th hour. Red Bull will instead partner with Ford for its powertrain development from 2026, and Honda, after announcing it was quitting the sport, has announced it will be supplying Aston Martin with power units from 2026.