FIA President rejects suggestions Andretti F1 bid could end in court

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FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has “no fear” over Andretti
being accepted onto the grid, and dismissed any
suggestions that the bid could go to court. 's governing body
recently approved an application for Andretti Formula Racing LLC to
join the F1 grid from 2025 at the earliest, having moved it to the
final phase of the entry process. Having passed the technical and
sporting requirements, Andretti has now entered Phase 3 – which is
to enter “commercial discussions” with Formula One Management
(FOM). However, the reaction from FOM and the 10 current teams has
been lukewarm throughout the entry process, with some wanting to
see any new team bring ‘accretive' elements, while the addition of
an 11th team would also reduce their total prize pot money. This
reluctance has led to concerns that it could end up with
anti-competitive authorities within the EU, should Andretti not be
accepted by FOM. When asked by RacingNews365 on the future
timelines for this process, Ben Sulayem told media: “FOM has all
the time for them [Andretti], I am not in a position to push or to
tell them what to do. “I do respect everything they do, I never
interfere with whatever they are doing. At the same time, I don't
like anyone interfering in our jurisdictions. “The other teams have
already received letters saying that we cannot [proceed].” Ben
Sulayem noted that the governing body has made sure they have kept
records should any EU lawsuit come to light. “The FIA team put a
lot of work into it, to the point where I said to them: ‘Remember,
we have to be transparent',” he added. “All of these documents can
be taken to court and the EU, and then they will question you over
‘Why is this team allowed and not this one?' So I have no fear.”
Ben Sulayem: We don't want to go to court The FIA President has
played down any suggestions that Andretti's entry could be battled
in a courtroom, despite the previous tensions between the governing
body and FOM over the announcement of the tender process. “We don't
have to go to court, I don't think any of us would go to court,”
said Ben Sulayem. “Maybe it's sounds very exciting and thrilling to
the media, but we will not go to court. I'm sure of that. Why
should we go to court? “This marriage [between FIA and FOM], I've
said it before and I'll say it again: I think the Pope of the
Vatican can get married 100 times and get divorced. But we will not
be divorced. “The owners might change tomorrow, Liberty Media might
sell, but FIA with Liberty go to court? We will not allow it. It's
not for even discussion. Adding value to Formula 1 Andretti would
be the second American team to join the grid after Haas, with the
team planning a big expansion for its operations in with a brand
new racing headquarters in Fishers, Indiana. Its entry alongside
General Motors and its Cadillac brand – also brings further
exposure to a market F1 has dominated in the last couple of years
through one of the largest car manufacturers in the world. A
refusal of their entry could be seen as adding further political
tensions between the FIA and FOM, but Ben Sulayem believes it will
only benefit F1. “It won't break up between us, we did not put FOM
in a strange position,” he explained. “Our intention is to add
value to the sport and to make an OEM. We challenged Andretti and
the first time said: ‘No, unless you have someone [OEM] with you'
“Then they came back with an OEM, and that [decision] was joint
with the FIA and FOM. “So I can't see that it would be an issue
between us and FOM regarding this matter. We're not forcing
ourselves on them, and neither FOM [on us]. “I mean, I was happy
when I saw the [fan] survey and 84% said they would like to see an
extra team.”

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