Cadillac wants to enter Formula 1 with Andretti Global [Updated]



Update, 1:15 pm ET: Although I said I’d be surprised if Cadillac rebadged someone else’s engine instead of building its own, that’s exactly what the plan is, at least to begin with. GM President Mark Reuss told Autosport that “We have a signed agreement with a power unit supplier to begin with.” However, it sounds like a Cadillac-designed engine may happen in time, perhaps for the 2026 season. “As we move forward, we bring a lot of our expertise to create things for the future as well,” Reuss said.

Original story: The world of Formula 1 got a shock on Thursday morning when General Motors announced it has plans to enter the championship. GM wants to go F1 racing with its Cadillac brand, partnering with a new Andretti Global team, assuming the sport’s organizing body accepts the entry.

F1 has been fixed at 10 teams since Haas joined the sport in 2016. Since then, the series has introduced a new budget cap that has reined in some of the crazier budgets and made the prospect of operating an F1 team much less of a financial black hole. The exact amount of the cost cap is adjusted depending on how many races are planned for a year—for 2023, that should be $138.6 million—and even finishing in 10th place earns a team enough money to cover about 70 percent of those costs.

As a result, the sport is now a much more attractive proposition for new entrants than it was the last time we gained new teams in 2010, none of which survived. But there’s a snag: You can’t just turn up at the start of a season with a couple of cars and expect to go racing. The sport’s organizing body, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), requires that any new team “buy in” to the franchise with a $200 million “non-dilution fee” meant to ensure a new competitor doesn’t cost the existing 10 teams any of their income.

That’s a pretty effective way of keeping time-wasters out of the sport, but it hasn’t deterred the Andrettis. The team, run by IndyCar champion and former F1 driver Michael Andretti (son of F1 champion Mario Andretti), has been determined to step up to what most see as the top rung of world motorsport for some time. Andretti Global already runs teams in Indycar, Indy Lights, and an IMSA LMP3 team under the Andretti Autosport banner, as well as a Formula E program, an Australian Supercars team, and an Extreme E team.

In addition to winning the Indianapolis 500, the IndyCar championship, and the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Mario Andretti also won the 1978 F1 World Championship driving for Team Lotus.
Enlarge / In addition to winning the Indianapolis 500, the IndyCar championship, and the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Mario Andretti also won the 1978 F1 World Championship driving for Team Lotus.

Bernard Cahier/Getty Images

But for some time now, Andretti and his father have been vocal in their determination to enter the sport, going so far as to try to buy the Sauber team. (Sauber instead sold a stake to Audi in 2022.) The Andrettis have repeatedly said they have the financial support for this endeavor, and Andretti Global broke ground on a new purpose-built 575,000-square-foot (53,419-m2) base of operations in Fishers, Indiana, in early December.

“We are continuing to grow Andretti Global and its family of racing teams and always have our eyes on what’s next,” said Michael Andretti, chairman and CEO of Andretti Global. “I feel very strongly that we are suited to be a new team for Formula One and can bring value to the series and our partners and excitement for the fans. I’m proud to have GM and Cadillac alongside us as we pursue this goal. GM and Andretti share a legacy born out of the love of racing. We now have the opportunity to combine our motorsport passions and dedication to innovation to build a true American F1 bid.”

“Together, we will continue to follow procedures and steps put forth by the FIA during the evaluation process. In the meantime, we continue to optimistically prepare should we be fortunate enough to have Andretti Cadillac formally approved as a Formula One contender,” Andretti continued.

This will be GM’s first foray into the shark-infested world of F1, and I have to admit I’m a little surprised it has green-lit this program, especially under the Cadillac brand. Then again, Cadillac has notched up a fair degree of success in sports car racing over the past few years in the IMSA WeatherTech series. And the surging popularity of F1—which now has five races in North America—is surely tempting.

“General Motors is honored to team with Andretti Global on this historic moment in racing. We have a long, rich history in motorsports and engineering innovation, and we are thrilled with the prospect of pairing with Andretti Global to form an American F1 team that will help spur even more global interest in the series and the sport,” said Mark Reuss, president of GM.

“Cadillac and F1 both have growing global appeal. Our brand has a motorsports pedigree that’s more than a century in the making, and we would be proud to have the opportunity to bring our distinct American innovation and design to F1,” Reuss said.


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