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Stroll Says F1 Has Never Been Better, Doesn’t Need Andretti

Aston Martin F1 team owner Lawrence Stroll doesn’t want Andretti F1 to join the grid, despite the FIA’s approval.
Getty

The political machine of Formula 1 is rumbling up again amidst the announcement that the Andretti-Cadillac F1 project got the FIA’s blessing to join the F1 grid. There is still one major hurdle to Andretti actually getting a car on the grid: Convincing F1 and existing teams to let it join on a commercial basis. Aston Martin team owner Lawrence Stroll has broken the silence following the FIA’s approval and pushed back on Andretti joining the grid.

“The business is on fire, F1’s never been in a better place,” Stroll told Sky Sports F1. “I believe if it ain’t broke, you don’t need to fix it.” Stroll then continued with a clearer statement on the matter: “I’m a strong believer that it’s working really well with 10 teams right now, and believe that’s the way it should stay.”

Most F1 team bosses (and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali) were strongly against Andretti’s addition before the FIA’s approval. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes Andretti should buy an existing team, and Domenicali says that F1 has “no need” for a new entry. Stroll is the first to speak following the FIA’s announcement, and has made it clear that he doesn’t want anything to change.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem at the Japanese GP. Getty Images

Stroll himself bought his way onto the F1 grid after the collapse of Force India following previous owner Vijay Mallya’s legal and financial troubles. He turned Force India into Racing Point, and after purchasing a 16.7% stake in Aston Martin in 2020, turned Racing Point into Aston Martin. His son, Lance Stroll, has raced for his teams since 2019. In a sport with limited spots for competitors and regular personnel changes, it’s never been reported that Lance is under threat of losing his job over the past four years. 

F1 drivers, meanwhile, appear largely in favor of Andretti’s potential arrival. Lewis Hamilton told Reuters “It’s an opportunity for more jobs, another two seats available for a potential female driver to come through.” Reigning world champion Max Verstappen, who famously “doesn’t think about what is good for F1,” agreed that such a move would “[give] more opportunities for the driver’s side.” 

From left to right: F1 drivers Liam Lawson, George Russell, Esteban Ocon, Oscar Piastri, and Alex Albon at the Qatar GP preview. Getty

Of course, the drivers have no commercial interest in F1 like the team owners do, which is the primary point of contention in Andretti joining the grid. Team bosses believe that F1 is several times more valuable than when the last commercial agreement was signed, and that the current $200 million anti-dilution fee that Andretti would have to pay to gain entry is no longer enough to cover the potential loss of value for other teams should an eleventh come on.

F1 teams believe everyone’s share of the winnings will get smaller if Andretti joins the grid. Despite Andretti bringing everything F1 asked for, including automaker backing from Cadillac, the project still faces significant hurdles from the Billionaire Boys Club. Andretti Global boss Michael Andretti has hit back at team bosses, calling them “very greedy,” and has campaigned hard for his entry in the face of strong You Can’t Sit Here energy from F1.

There is no timeline for when F1 will make its determination on whether Andretti will join the championship. The sport’s current line is that it “will now conduct [its] own assessment of the merits of the remaining application.”

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