FIA formally opens up application process for new F1 team

Audi will enter F1 in 2026 with both a chassis built by Sauber and its own power unit. Cristiano Barni ATPImages/Getty Images

Formula One's governing body, the FIA, has officially opened the application process for a new team to join the grid by 2025 at the earliest.

With F1's worldwide popularity booming like never before, interest in joining the series is high.

Under the bid process outlined by the FIA on Thursday, any new team will have to prove it is capable of "seeking to participate at a competitive level," with the governing body looking at a number of aspects including funding, technical capabilities and personnel and experience.

Interested parties will, for the first time ever, have to outline how they will "manage the sustainability challenge and how it plans to achieve a net-zero Co2 impact by 2030," the FIA said in a statement on Thursday, as well as achieving a positive societal impact.

Crucially, the FIA added that F1's commercial rights holder, Liberty Media, can impose its own criteria if it sees fit, and that no bid will be successful without both the championship and the governing body being in agreement.

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In January, Andretti and Cadillac announced their plans to table a bid to enter F1 by 2026. The bid had support from the FIA but was met with a lukewarm response by F1 and its 10 teams, who are concerned about diluting the current prize giving pot by adding another team which may not bring value to the sport.

Convincing F1's existing stakeholders that a new entry brings legitimate and long-term value to the sport will be a major part of any successful bid.

With plenty of interest being shown beyond the Andretti-Cadillac bid, the FIA hopes its application process will properly scrutinise the strengths and weaknesses of potential new entries.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: "The growth and appeal of the FIA Formula One World Championship is at unprecedented levels," and the FIA believes the conditions are right for interested parties, which meet the selection criteria, to express a formal interest in entering the championship.

"For the first time ever, as part of the selection conditions, we are requesting that candidates set out how they would meet the FIA's sustainability benchmarks and how they would make a positive societal impact through sport.

"The process is a logical extension of the positive acceptance of the FIA's 2026 F1 Power Unit Regulations from engine manufacturers which has attracted Audi to Formula One and created interest among other potential entrants."

The FIA hopes to be able to make a decision on bids by June 30 of this year -- parties have until Feb. 17 to formally declare their interest and until April 30 to make a formal application.

F1 has not had a new team join the grid since Haas in 2016.

Since 2010, new teams Marussia, Caterham, Virgin Racing and HRT have all folded after a handful of years in operation.