American team Andretti have moved a step closer to joining the Formula One grid after being given approval by the FIA to progress to the next stage of the process.
It was announced in January that Cadillac, a division of American motoring giant General Motors, and Andretti – owned by former F1 driver Michael Andretti, son of 1978 world champion Mario Andretti – had teamed up with the intention of entering the sport at a competitive level.
Following the initial call for expressions of interest and at the end of a comprehensive application process for four prospective teams to proceed, the FIA concluded Andretti were the only candidates to meet the stringent criteria.
Applicants were assessed on sporting and technical ability, the ability of the team to raise and maintain sufficient funding to allow participation in the F1 championship as well as the team’s experience and human resources.
The FIA findings on Andretti Formula Racing LLC’s submission will now be passed to Formula One Management (FOM) for commercial discussions.
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “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.”
A spokesperson for F1 said: “We note the FIA’s conclusions in relation to the first and second phases of their process and will now conduct our own assessment of the merits of the remaining application.”
It is understood if F1 decides against Andretti’s bid to join the championship then the process would not progress.
Andretti welcomed the FIA’s recommendations for their application to proceed.
“Andretti Cadillac is honoured that the FIA has approved Andretti Formula Racing’s expression of interest for the FIA Formula One World Championship,” a statement from the American team read.
“We appreciate the FIA’s rigorous, transparent and complete evaluation process and are incredibly excited to be given the opportunity to compete in such a historic and prestigious championship.
“The formation of this distinctly American team is an important moment of pride for all our employees and fans.
“We feel strongly that Andretti Cadillac’s deep racing competencies and the technological advancements that come from racing will benefit our customers while heightening enthusiasm for F1, globally.
“We look forward to engaging with all of the stakeholders in Formula One as we continue our planning to join the grid as soon as possible.”