FIA launches application process for new teams to join F1 from 2025
The FIA says applications to enter Formula 1 will be based upon "rigorous financial and technical analysis"; amid recent tension between the FIA and F1, the governing body has affirmed F1's commercial rights holder would have to approve any new entrant
Last Updated: 02/02/23 3:26pm
The FIA has officially launched an application process for new teams to join Formula 1 from 2025.
World motorsport's governing body says applications will be based upon "rigorous financial and technical analysis", and will also require illustrations of how prospective new teams would manage sustainability challenges and achieve a "positive societal impact" through participating.
Thursday's announcement comes amid an ongoing public discord between FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem and representatives of F1 teams over acceptable terms for the grid to be expanded.
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An FIA statement said: "The FIA welcomes interest from entities with a serious intent to enter the FIA Formula One World Championship. The high level of interest from a number of potential candidates is further proof of the popularity and growth of the Championship.
"All applicants will undergo thorough due diligence. The assessment of each application will cover in particular the technical capabilities and resources of the applicant team, the ability of the team to raise and maintain sufficient funding to allow participation in the Championship at a competitive level and the team's experience and human resources."
The current 12-team cap on the sport means there could only be up to two successful applicants, who would each have the option of joining in 2025, 2026 - when new engine regulations will come into action, or 2027.
Members of F1's 10 current teams have suggested that the $200m (£162m) fee a new entrant would have to pay under the current regulations fails to recognise the sport's huge recent growth and would leave them worse off.
After recent attempts by American racing team Andretti to pursue a 2026 entrance to the sport, Ben Sulayem expressed his "surprise" at the "adverse reaction" from current F1 teams, while Michael Andretti accused them of "greed".
The incident highlighted an uneasy relationship between Ben Sulayem's FIA, who govern the sport, and F1, who own the commercial rights and have the ultimate say on a new team being accepted.
"The growth and appeal of the FIA Formula One World Championship is at unprecedented levels," Ben Sulayem said. "The FIA believes the conditions are right for interested parties, which meet the selection criteria, to express a formal interest in entering the Championship."
The FIA statement added: "The overall long-term interests of the Championship, involving all stakeholders, will determine which candidates are selected together with the applicable regulations and governance arrangements."
Evidence of 'positive conversations' between FIA and F1?
The announcement could be construed as evidence of progress being made between the FIA and F1, with relations understood to have improved since last week when Ben Sulayem was accused of "unacceptable" interference in the alleged sale of the sport.
After reports of a $20bn (£16.3bn) Saudi Arabian bid to buy the rights from F1 owners Liberty Media, Ben Sulayem raised concerns about the potential consequences of an "inflated" takeover - such as higher ticket prices for fans if the new owners tried to recoup their investment.
Sky Sports News' Craig Slater said on Wednesday: "We revealed last week that the leadership at F1 felt that FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem had made a major overstep by commenting on what he thought the worth of F1 was.
"The FIA, the governing body, does not have a day-to-day commercial role in the running of the sport and F1 subsequently sent a letter to the FIA making it very clear that they thought was an unacceptable thing for the president of the FIA to do.
"I can reveal to you that no reply has come from the FIA to F1, but I can also say that positive conversations continue between the two institutions, so they're functioning normally - as they need to be to keep the sport operating properly."
The FIA statement emphasised F1's push to become more sustainability-friendly, which includes the aim of becoming carbon neutral from 2030.
Ben Sulayem added: "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."