Early last month General Motors and Andretti Global announced plans to bid for entry into the Formula 1 world championship. The plan would see the Andretti-run team feature Cadillac branding, presumably for the powertrain. While the FIA was supportive of the plan, existing F1 constructors and commercial rights holder, Liberty Media (an American company, mind you), were not so excited.
While the Andretti Cadillac announcement featured strong, actionable language, F1 insiders have said a strong majority of the existing teams are against expanding the grid beyond the current ten teams. The main reason is a dilution of the revenue share and prize money that is distributed to each team. Sources are claiming many teams feel the current $200 million entry fee is far too cheap and doesn’t accurately reflect the ascending value of F1 in recent years. Prior to the announcement of intent, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said that expanding the grid is not a priority for the series.
Even though an Andretti-Cadillac F1 partnership would see one of the world’s most recognized motorsport brands join forces with one of the largest global automakers, many remain skeptical of the potential project.
It’s A Big Club…
According to Autosport, rival teams and F1 organizers are not impressed with Andretti’s highly publicized attempts to enter the series. The world of European motorsport often requires a gentle touch, and Andretti has been anything but gentle with aggressive politicking both in public and in private.
On the technical front, teams are questioning the technical involvement General Motors would bring. Michael Andretti already made it clear that the Andretti Cadillac F1 team would likely race with a customer-sourced engine and GM President, Mark Reuss, said “We have a signed agreement with a power unit supply, to begin with, and then as we move forward, we bring a lot of our expertise to create things for the future as well.”
Some are pointing to Honda as the potential behind-the-scenes engine partner considering GM already has existing partnerships with the Japanese brand. Of course, there’s also been a rumor floating around that Renault is looking to “capitalize on the valuation of its F1 team assets,” which indicates an interest in selling off a partial stake in the operations. This could make for an excellent starting place for Andretti Cadillac.
Other car companies have contrasted the the lack of a transperant plan from GM and Andretti. Audi will enter in 2026 by taking ownership of the Sauber team along with designing a proprietary powertrain. The newly announced Red Bull Ford partnership will see Ford take responsibility for battery cell development, electric motor technology, power unit control software, and analytics while Red Bull Powertrains handles the internal combustion side.
Red Bull, Ford, And Christian Horner
Interestingly, Red Bull Racing team manager Christian Horner added commentary to why there’s general opposition from the teams in regard to a Cadillac-Andretti entry. In a conversation with Racer, Horner paraphrased the sentiment on the F1 grid as: “well hang on, why should we dilute our element of the prize fund?”
Kind of sounds to us like Michael Andretti’s umbrage with the teams, calling them “greedy,” and stating that “it’s all about money” seems spot on to us. The interview with Horner was published the week before the Ford-Red Bull announcement too, so Horner could also have been slighting GM and Andretti as a rival.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
It’s not that Cadillac and General Motors aren’t capable of contributing at the F1 level. As one of the biggest and most sophisticated car companies in the world with far-reaching motorsports support and participation, there are existing parts and know-how from The General that could be enlisted to help get the project off the ground. Entering the realm of speculation, Cadillac’s sister brand Chevrolet works with Ilmor to produce the 2.2L V6 turbo used for IndyCar, and it’s possible this could inform a 1.6L turbo V6 as required by the F1 regulations. Honda also plays in the IndyCar and Formula 1 arenas. Honda even supports champions Red Bull Racing, until Ford’s program takes over in 2026.
Keeping things in the IndyCar family, it’s theoretically possible Andretti Cadillac could enlist Dallara as a chassis builder for the project. Dallara is already familiar to Andretti through its spec IndyCar tub, and the Italian company has its toes in F1 supplying Haas with its chassis. Dallara is also responsible for both the Cadillac DPi-V.R and Cadillac V-LMDh race cars.
Unfortunately, Andretti-Cadillac will need more than a well-worded press release to convince F1 stakeholders to take the bid seriously. A more robust technical plan may also be required in order to prove that General Motors and Andretti can help bring sustained long-term value to the series in the same magnitude that Audi, Ford, or even Porsche are able to bring.
Ford, Cadillac, Formula 1 And The USA
The importance of Cadillac and Ford entering the pinnacle of motorsport that is Formula 1 as it explodes with popularity in their home country cannot be understated. For example, the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship season has ended as the most-viewed ever on American television, smashing the previous record that was set in 2021. The 2022 Formula 1 season averaged 1.21 million viewers per race across ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC, a 28 percent increase over the previous US television record of 949,000 average viewers that was set in 2021. The 2022 season also became the first in US television history to average 1 million or more viewers per race, and there were 22 races last year. That’s a lot of eyeballs.
To compare, IndyCar tallied 1.30 million viewers across NBC, USA Network, Peacock and NBC Sports digital platforms for the entire season. NASCAR allegedly had 3.7 million viewers for the entire season.
In short, the USA has emerged as F1’s biggest cash cow as of late, with races asking hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for an individual ticket. Tickets that will be spent viewing at iconic race tracks such as the Miami Dolphins Stadium, and the Las Vegas Strip.
Did we say “iconic?” Sorry. We meant “lowest common denominator parking lots in convenient locations.” In Miami, we saw a fake yacht harbor, so who knows what F1 will have in store for Sin City. Perhaps they’ll use the Sapphires parking lot as a paddock. Since legendary tracks like Wisconsin’s Road America and Georgia’s Road Atlanta were passed up for these “street circuits,” people paying four figures for a ticket to attend one of these races deserve it.
That’s not to say that F1 races in the USA are total rubbish. Circuit of the Americas in Austin is a far better representation of the caliber of race tracks this country holds, and with a fourth USA race teased (hopefully at the expense of either the Russian or Chinese Grands Prix), it won’t stop there.