Back in June, I suggested that if Andretti Global wanted to get an entry in Formula 1 it would be best for the team to find some kind of a deal with one of the big American car companies: either Ford or General Motors.
This seems to have been what has happened as this afternoon Michael Andretti and Mark Reuss, the President of General Motors, announced that they will be working together on a Formula 1 project, using the Cadillac brand. There is no current timescale but Michael Andretti says that there is a signed deal in place for power units from an existing F1 engine supplier. At the moment no-one will say who this will be. The entry is unlikely to be for before 2026 when the new engine rules arrive.
The discussions have been going on since the summer. If the bid for an entry is successful it will be the first time that GM has been involved in Formula 1.
One should also mention that GM has a longstanding relationship with Honda, which goes back to 2013 when the two firms began working together on the co-development of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies. In April last year the two firms announced plans to expand their relationship to develop a series of “affordable electric vehicles” based on Ultium battery technology, with the plan being to start global production of millions are such vehicles in 2027.
It would be entirely logical – and cost-effective – given this relationship for Honda and GM to agree to work together to use the same engines in Formula 1 after 2026, even if they are branded differently. Honda has made a huge investment in F1 in recent years and has enjoyed success with Red Bull, although it sold the current engine technology to Red Bull when it decided to pull out. Since then Honda has decided to return and is currently sponsoring Red Bull to remind everyone that it built the engines but it is not clear if Red Bull would be willing to supply the units to a team outside its sphere of influence, although there is little chance that Andretti would be up and running for 2025 and would be unlikely to be competitive immediately.
Red Bull intends to go its own way in 2026 an is looking for a partner, while Honda has been looking for a team to partner with in the future. Thus it could mean that Honda and GM will both be in Formula 1 after 2026, each with its own team or in partnership with either a existing team or a new operation, such as Andretti.
The decision to use the Cadillac brand is interesting as for the next couple of years GM is committed to running a LMDh programme in the World Endurance Championship.
This all explains why the FIA has announced plans to open up a process for expressions of interests a few days ago.
Now we wait to see of Ford will jump in as well.
Although cagey on on the question of engine supply, Andretti says that it has a technical director already signed up and that the programme will be based at the new headquarters under construction in Fishers, Indiana. The team will have a large satellite operation in the UK – with some rumours a few weeks ago suggesting that this will be near Brackley. Michael Andretti says that this will eventually be used for more than just F1. The ambition is to have an American driver as part of the programme with the obvious speculation that this could be Colton Herta.
GM says that the programme will involve the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, and the GM Racing technical centre in Charlotte.
“We are continuing to grow Andretti Global and its family of racing teams and always have our eyes on what’s next,” said Andretti. “I feel that we are well suited to be a new team for Formula 1 and can bring value to the series and our partners, and excitement for the fans. I’m proud to have GM and Cadillac alongside us as we pursue this goal. GM and Andretti share a legacy born out of the love of racing. We now have the opportunity to combine our motorsport passions and dedication to innovation to build a true American F1 bid. Together, we will continue to follow procedures and steps put forth by the FIA during the evaluation process. In the meantime, we continue to optimistically prepare should we be fortunate enough to have Andretti Cadillac formally approved as a Formula 1 contender.”
“General Motors is honoured to team with Andretti Global on this historic moment in racing,” Reuss said. “We have a long, rich history in motorsports and engineering innovation, and we are thrilled with the prospect of pairing with Andretti Global to form an American F1 team that will help spur even more global interest in the series and the sport.
“Cadillac and F1 both have growing global appeal. Our brand has a motorsports pedigree that’s more than a century in the making, and we would be proud to have the opportunity to bring our distinct American innovation and design to F1.”