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Michael Andretti

Source: Joe Skibinski/Penske Entertainment / other

PARIS, France. — The ongoing effort by Michael Andretti to join as a team owner in the ranks of Formula One took a major step forward this week.

On Monday, the FIA, which is the governing body of all international motorsport racing including Formula One, gave full approval for Andretti Formula Racing LLC to become the series 11th constructor.

The approval does not mean that Andretti Global will be joining F1 just yet. The bid will now have to be approved unanimously by each of the racing series stakeholders (i.e. the other racing teams).

“The FIA was very clear in establishing stringent criteria for entry from the outset of the Expressions of Interest procedure,” said FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem. “Our objective, after rigorous due diligence during the application phase, was to only approve prospective entries which satisfied the set criteria and illustrated that they would add value to the sport.”

“Andretti Formula Racing LLC was the only entity which fulfils the selection criteria that was set in all material respects,” Sulayem continued. “I congratulate Michael Andretti and his team on a thorough submission. I also want to thank all prospective teams for their interest and participation.”

Andretti Global, which is based in Indianapolis, originally tried moving forward with an application last year to begin the process of joining Formula One, but that effort was more or less stonewalled by many current F1 teams.

The pushback was over concerns of diluting the overall winnings teams receive at the end of each season. They also felt at the time that the $200 million entry fee would not be enough. That entry fee is shared among the other 10 teams.

With the FIA approval, only time will tell if F1 teams will be obliged to give Andretti Global the same consideration.

Andretti announced last year that in their prospective F1 bid they would be partnering with General Motors Cadillac-brand and that they would field at least one American driver. Last year it was widely rumored that Colton Herta would be that driver.

Even though the team would be Cadillac-branded, Renault-owned F1 team Alpine has committed to supply engines to the racing team if they win FIA approval, which they now have.

Andretti’s F1 bid now moves to Phase 3 of the process of joining Formula One, which includes approval from commercial stakeholders and all 10 current F1 teams.