FIA president fires ‘money’ accusations at all F1 teams as he eyes major change

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has reiterated his support for Andretti’s bid to join the F1 grid, claiming that the opposition coming from the current roster of teams is rooted solely in financial motivations.

The American motorsport group, owned and operated by racing legend Michael Andretti, have already been approved to join the sport by its governing body, the FIA, but they must now convince the ten teams that make up the grid to facilitate their entry. 

This could prove a sticking point for Andretti’s hopes of joining the grid with teams at the bottom end of the standings fearful that their arrival could provide more unwanted competition for prize money and teams at the top unconvinced about the benefits they would bring to the sport.

“I believe it’s about money,” Ben Sulayem told Sky Sports F1 when discussing the current ten teams’ opposition to Andretti’s entry bid. “I can’t think of anything [else]. As I said before, it’s money to the teams. With the cost cap, look at how much it’s worth now.

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“Teams are worth billions, some of them. For us, it’s the spirit of the sport. It’s sustaining motorsport, sustaining the business. To them, it is money and more money. And we have nothing against this, it’s up to them.”

While the attitude from the team principals and financial backers has been overwhelmingly negative about the idea of an 11th team joining the F1 grid, the drivers have revealed much more varied opinions on the subject. 

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When asked for his opinion, three-time world champion Max Verstappen said: “Of course, in terms of competition it would probably be a nice thing. That’s why it’s very hard to understand, from what I’ve seen and heard it looks very professional and they want to come in and of course, with the Andretti name they are a big name.

Lewis Hamilton was initially positive when asked but later stated his opposition on social media, replying to a fan saying: “Nope, don’t support Andretti. Just the idea of another team in future if it’s a chance to make our sport more diverse.”

His Mercedes team-mate George Russell was much more undecided, stating: “I’m not for or against. But definitely, if there were an extra team, it’s got to be a quality outfit – one that can add to the sport and we want to see competition.

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