Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

F1 rejects American legacy

Kara Lee

On Jan. 31, Formula One (F1) Management released a statement explaining why they rejected the application of Andretti Cadillac to compete in the F1 World Championship. The team had already been approved by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the governing body of motorsports that oversees F1 racing.  

San Antonians are probably familiar with the Andretti Indoor Karting & Games entertainment hub off Loop 1604, owned by the Andretti family. Mario Andretti is an American racing legend, winning the F1 World Championship in 1978 and also competing in other categories such as NASCAR and IndyCar. Andretti Cadillac is a partnership between Andretti Autosport and General Motors’ luxury car brand Cadillac

F1 teams generally partner up and share a name with their power unit and/or engine provider, such as Sauber Ferrari or Lotus Renault. Andretti Autosport is headed by CEO and Chairman Michael Andretti, son of Andretti and fellow racing legend. They currently have teams competing in various categories, including the IndyCar Series and Formula E, and have been trying to get into F1 for years. 

In their statement, F1 Management outlined their reasons for rejecting their bid, asserting that the team would not provide any value to the championship as they do not believe that it would be competitive and do not think that an 11th team would benefit the sport at the moment. Currently, there are 10 teams on the F1 grid, but historically there have been more.

There are many reasons why having more teams is beneficial to the sport. For one, it allows for more driver rotation and provides more seats for rookies. The 2024 F1 season will be the first to have a repeat driver lineup, with every team racing with the same drivers as in 2023. Coupled with the lack of retirements among older drivers, such as world champions Fernando Alonso (42) and Lewis Hamilton (39), the lack of an 11th team limits opportunities for younger drivers, with more having to settle for being reserves.

The solution is not to get rid of the likes of Alonso and Hamilton, whose driving is still top form, but to create more spaces. To keep the sport dynamic, new faces must be introduced. 

As for being competitive, F1 did not elaborate completely on their reasoning, and it is unfair, given that the team had met all the requirements set by the FIA to even apply. Even if they were not immediately competitive, it is not a valid excuse. There are currently teams on the grid that are not competitive, such as the Haas F1 Team, that are embraced by F1 due to the sponsors they bring to the sport. The number of teams that challenge for the championship each season has always been minimal and rejecting interested parties does nothing to lessen that problem. 

F1’s statement mentioned that it had extended an invitation to an in-person meeting with the Andretti team to discuss their entry and that this invitation was rejected. Andretti Cadillac released a response on Feb. 2, clarifying that they were not aware that such an invitation had been extended and that had they been, they would not have rejected it. Whether genuine miscommunication or sinister corporate politics, it is unfortunate that this meeting did not take place before the application was denied.

The rejection of Andretti by F1 is a blow to American fans, whom the category has been trying to woo in recent years, adding a Miami race to the calendar in 2022 and another in Las Vegas in 2023. They have also expressed interest in adding more races in the United States in cities like New York City or Chicago — all to bring in money from American sponsors and fans. Yet, this move shows their lack of respect for American motorsport, throwing aside American manufacturers and, even worse, the legacy Andretti built for himself as the most successful North American driver in F1 history.

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About the Contributors
Marcela Montufar Soria
Marcela Montufar Soria, Multimedia Editor
Marcela (She/Her/Ella) is an Honors College History and Classical Studies and Humanities major with a concentration in Religious Studies and a minor in East Asian Studies. She is an international student from Mexico and is the fourth member of her family to be a student at UTSA. After graduation, she plans to pursue a graduate education in Chinese history. Outside of school, Marcela volunteers at the Witte Museum as a gallery attendant during the weekends. Her hobbies include violin playing, amateur stargazing, video editing, writing, reading non-fiction, and painting. She joined the Paisano in Fall 2021, became Assistant Multimedia Editor in Spring 2022, and became Multimedia Editor in Spring 2023.
Kara Lee
Kara Lee, Graphic Editor
Kara is a communication major on track to graduate in 2025. After graduating they hope to work for non-profits that specialize in environmental concerns so they can give back to the planet that provides so much for us. When Kara is not in school or working they can be found either drawing or hiking.

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