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FIA boss wants more teams, less races in F1

FIA boss wants more teams, less races in F1
© Reuters
The president of F1's governing body has confirmed he is at odds with the sport's commercial rights holder in a fundamental way.

The president of F1's governing body has confirmed he is at odds with the sport's commercial rights holder in a fundamental way.

As the sport re-congregated in Bahrain for the 2024 season opener, top stars like Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso hit out at the now brutal length of the 24-race calendar.

When asked about that by Speed Week at the Geneva Motor Show, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem's answer was telling.

"I have always said that I am convinced that we should have more teams rather than more races," he declared.

It's a key snipe at F1 rights holder Liberty Media, who are responsible not only for the commercial deals with race promoters and drafting the calendar, but also for having locked Andretti-Cadillac out of the sport at least until 2028.

The Ben Sulayem-led FIA had earlier green-lit Andretti's bid to become the eleventh team in Formula 1 as soon as 2025, and the federation's president defended his position on Thursday.

"We examined the application in all details and approved it," he explained. "But we are only responsible for the sporting side, not the commercial side.

"As a sports official, my dream is to have a team from the USA in Formula 1, and not only a team and a driver, but also a manufacturer. They are important for the entire sport. Just as we would also welcome teams and manufacturers from China," said Ben Sulayem.

"I also really hope that Audi will be there (in 2026) as announced and that General Motors will be there in two years."

When asked for his position on the matter, as the CEO of Formula 1 representing Liberty Media, Stefano Domenicali declared that the introduction of an eleventh team in F1 is a matter "linked to the Concorde Agreements".

"This is joint work that must be carried out between the FIA and FOM with regard to the different types of evaluation that we must carry out," he is quoted as saying in Bahrain by France's Auto Hebdo.

"Regarding what happened (with Andretti), I think that the process was respected and that we presented the result in the right way," Domenicali insisted.

"For the future, it is above all a question of exchanges, with the teams, with the commercial and technical proposals which will be discussed during this year in due course."

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