If Mohammed Ben Sulayem had his say, F1 would welcome ‘yes’ to Andretti-Cadillac and an additional new entrant, while removing some of the 24 race dates on upcoming calendars.
As indicated by France’s L’Equipe, the FIA president’s talk with a small group of journalists at the Qatar GP was anticipated to be a brief 15 minutes.
But it extended into a comprehensive hour “and it could have continued even longer if there had not been a race”.
Why the surge in interest in his words? A rising tension between the FIA on one end and the existing ten teams combined with F1 owner Liberty Media on the other.
Ben Sulayem’s FIA has greenlit Andretti-Cadillac to join the grid by 2025, but he faces significant resistance from F1 and the ten teams.
“We shouldn’t decline them,” he asserted. “The FIA should be actively inviting, even urging, car manufacturers to participate.
“We’re permitted to have 12 teams, but some suggest it’d be too packed. Really? We have a Hollywood team joining,” remarked the Emirati former rally competitor, hinting at the upcoming Brad Pitt film.
“The circuits are supposed to have enough garages and space for 12 teams,” Ben Sulayem added. “I rather think that the number of races is too high in relation to the number of teams.
“We need more teams and fewer races. The teams only look at their piece of the pie, and I understand their concerns. But our concerns are different.”
Regarding a potential confrontation with the Liberty-operated Formula One Management concerning this matter, the FIA president emphasized: “It was never my intention to make anyone uncomfortable, whether it be Liberty Media or FOM.
“I’m here for the spirit of sport.”