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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Why Ben Sulayem pushes on with new group course of regardless of F1 criticisms

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Earlier this yr, motorsport’s governing physique invited potential new groups to specific their curiosity in becoming a member of the F1 grid from as early as 2025.

The analysis technique of these purposes is ongoing, with a number of groups, together with Andretti-Cadillac, Hitech, Craig Pollock’s Components Equal and LKY SUNZ going public with their ambitions.

Different squads, together with Rodin Carlin and an entry from Asia, had been additionally linked to potential F1 bids.

However the transfer to develop the F1 grid has not gone down properly within the grand prix paddock, with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali sceptical about the necessity to develop the variety of entries past the present 10 groups.

Moreover, rival groups themselves should not impressed in regards to the prospect of getting extra vehicles on the grid.

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They’ve publicly questioned the business implications of needing to share their income with additional events, in addition to logistical points regarding the variety of pit garages out there.

However Ben Sulayem is unmoved by the doubts in regards to the new group entries, and thinks he and the FIA have completed the precise factor in making an attempt to get extra vehicles on the grid.

Talking solely to Autosport’s sister web site Motorsport-Whole.com, Ben Sulayem mentioned: “We’ve a contract and our contract says we have now as much as 12 groups. So we’re not breaking the principles. We’re, quite the opposite, fulfilling the principles.

“The FIA as a regulator has to take a look at all of the requests, and we did. The expression of curiosity was the precise factor to do. I do know a number of the groups should not pleased as a result of I can see the monetary impression on them.

“Is it including a group or have they got to purchase an present group? That is not for me to impose on large groups. However what we have now to do is the method, and the due diligence of the monetary aspect and the technical aspect.”

Delayed deadline

Andretti is without doubt one of the groups that has registered curiosity in becoming a member of F1

Picture by: Alexander Trienitz / Motorsport Images

The unique deadline for the purposes to be judged was the tip of June, however this timetable has now slipped again as a result of the FIA desires to make sure that it conducts an intensive evaluation of all of the entries.

It’s attainable {that a} choice might come shortly after the F1 summer season break.

“We prolonged it as a result of a number of the groups requested a while, and you do not wish to exclude them,” added Ben Sulayem.

“It’s a must to be versatile. We’re not but over with it as a result of we have now to be very cautious with making a choice.

“It is a large course of, and I do not wish to be rushed as a result of the choice needs to be very, very clear.”

Requested when a choice may very well be anticipated, he mentioned: “Not distant. I feel 4 to 6 weeks. We have to do it proper. We’re speaking about large funding from folks.

“We simply have to attend now for the following six weeks to see what’s the plan. I’ve little question that FOM will do the precise choice. They know what’s higher.”

Ben Sulayem mentioned that there had been between 5 and 6 purposes made, with “three or 4” of them “very severe”.

Authorized menace

Because the FIA closes in on a choice over the brand new groups, the stakes concerned are extremely excessive.

One situation that sources have steered might occur is that one or two of the brand new groups are given approval primarily based on being technically able to getting into F1, however don’t get an entry as a result of a business deal can’t be reached that satisfies FOM and the present squads.

Important to the approval of a brand new group is the extent of the anti-dilution charge that needs to be paid to different groups to compensate them for a possible lack of business rights revenue.

That is presently set at $200 million within the Concorde Settlement, however it’s steered that this figure will be raised to be as much as thrice larger sooner or later.

Ought to one of many new F1 groups get rejected at this late stage, then that might open the door to potential authorized motion – one thing that Ben Sulayem admits is feasible.

“What if one of many making use of groups take us to court docket? They’ll, if we are saying no to them,” mentioned Sulayem.

“It is not about me. I’m solely implementing the principles.”

Not sufficient house

An 11th team has already been at some F1 races this year, with filming for Brad Pitt's new film

An eleventh group has already been at some F1 races this yr, with filming for Brad Pitt’s new movie

Picture by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

One of many sensible points that has cropped up in relation to the brand new groups is that lots of F1’s present tracks shouldn’t have sufficient garages to accommodate them.

There have additionally been claims that there could be safety issues in qualifying if there are greater than 20 vehicles on observe on the identical time.

However Ben Sulayem has rubbished such options, as he says that the presence of the Apple F1 film that includes Brad Pitt, which has its personal storage at sure races, reveals what is feasible.

“We’re operating an eleventh group already due to Hollywood,” he mentioned. “And the tracks have been bettering. The FIA is at all times there with the circuits and searching for fixed methods to enhance.”

Requested if present circuits had been large enough, Ben Sulayem mentioned: “A hundred percent. Whether it is 10, or 11, or 12 [teams], they must be compliant. Our circuit fee will at all times be there and they’ll verify and undergo the entire course of.

“And you may’t have rules that swimsuit everybody. On the finish of the day, if you happen to ask me in regards to the PU [regulations for 2026], was everyone pleased? No. However then ultimately it went by way of. All people signed, and the brand new groups signed up as a consequence.

“I can not break the principles. I’m not giving anybody any concepts, but when there’s an software and we have now sufficient house for it, we have now to look into it.”

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