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Mohammed Ben Sulayem and Michael Andretti

‘Nobody can say no’ to Andretti engine deal, says FIA President

Andretti's original agreement with Alpine has expired, leaving the team without an engine supplier

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FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem believes F1 rules will ensure that Andretti will not be left without an engine supplier.

FIA President Ben Sulayem
The FIA President has voiced assurances that Andretti will not be left without an engine supplier. (Image credit: ESPN) 

Whilst the FIA has approved Andretti’s bid to join the F1 grid, hurdles still await the budding F1 team. As Andretti’s application turns to the opinion of Formula One Management (FOM), Andretti now faces the matter of an engine deal.

Although Andretti enters the world of F1 in partnership with Cadillac, the development of a Cadillac PU remains some time off. Should commercial discussions with FOM proceed smoothly, Andretti could join the grid as early as 2025 — too soon for the Cadillac engine to be ready.

An agreement had been struck between Andretti and Alpine. However, Alpine’s team principal Bruno Famin has since stated that the agreement between the teams has expired.

“We had a pre-contract with Andretti, which has expired because they were supposed to be granted an F1 entry before a given date,” Famin told Autosport. Should Andretti wish to strike up a deal with Alpine again, a “full… formal contract” must be negotiated.

Andretti will not be left without an engine

Speaking to members of the media, FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem voiced support for Andretti’s engine plight. He stated that whilst a Cadillac PU is expected eventually, “engines are not built in four or five years.”

“At the beginning, Andretti will have to agree on one of two engines,” stated Ben Sulayem. The President explained that he believes F1’s sporting regulations will apply to Andretti:

“It works that, with the rules, nobody can say no to [Andretti].”

“If all the teams say no, then the FIA has the power to go on and say, the least two [engine manufacturers] being used, then we put them in a draw, and we take one,” he elaborated.

Appendix 6 of the sporting regulations stipulates that the PU manufacturers “supplying the fewest number of teams” can be called upon to provide a power unit. If there are two manufacturers supplying the fewest number of teams, the manufacturer will be “determined by ballot”. Currently, the manufacturers supplying the least number of teams are Alpine and Honda.

The regulations set out conditions for a PU application. A team must submit its request by the 1 June of the season proceeding its entry.

If Andretti wishes to join the grid in 2025, it must submit an application by 1 June 2024. This aspect of the regulations now introduces a timeframe for Andretti’s discussions with Formula One Management.

Featured Image Credit: RacingNews365

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