Just two days ago, FIA President Mohamed Ben Sulayem said he wanted more participations in the near future. Strategic or not, the effort to hone its brand aligns with those sentiments. General Motors and Andretti Global today announced plans to go into Formula 1. We don’t know when Cadillac plans to get into the team roster.
Will Cadillac’s Andretti F1 entry use a Cadillac engine?
However, in today’s announcement, GM President Mark Reuss said Cadillac is already working with an engine supplier. Cadillac will no longer be the engine supplier, but will instead partner with one of its existing suppliers. It will develop the structure and aerodynamics of the project. Cadillac has already appointed a technical director.
. GM also has a NASCAR development facility in Charlotte, North Carolina, which could see some involvement.
“I feel very strongly that we are ready to be a new team and can bring value to the series and our partners, and excitement to the fans,” said Michael Andretti. “I am proud to have GM and Cadillac on our side as we pursue this goal. GM and Andretti share a legacy born out of a love of racing. We now have the opportunity to combine our passion for motorsports with a dedication to innovation to build a true American F1 show.”
Who will drive the Cadillac Andretti F1 Team?
Right now, GM says only one American driver will drive a Cadillac. That person could be Colton Herta. He is related to Andretti through his association with the online annuity and life insurance company Gainbridge. Gainbridge is a sponsor of Andretti’s IndyCar effort. Gainbridge and Herta both have multi-year contracts with Andretti.
“Cadillac and both are enjoying increasing global appeal,” said Mark Reuss, president of General Motors. “Our brand has a history in motorsports going back over a century, and we would be proud to have the opportunity to bring our innovation and outstanding American design to F1.”
When will the Formula 1 effort start racing?
While this all bodes well for both GM and Andretti Global, they will only be certified for F1 racing. In fact, part of Mohammed bin Sulayem’s comments revolved around more engine suppliers as well. So the question remains whether the FIA will approve Cadillac given it uses an existing engine supplier.
There is a possibility that Cadillac may already have an F1 engine in development. But with the costs of starting an entirely new team and a learning curve, she’ll want a relatively successful season or two first. Also, the earliest they could see F1 action wouldn’t be until 2025 or 2026. So there is still time to develop more than just a chassis if things start to look particularly promising. But going with an existing engine maker means one less piece of the puzzle Cadillac has to worry about.
And General Motors isn’t the first automaker to reach Formula 1. Toyota was in the running from 2002 to 2009, without winning even a single race. We’ll be watching the development of GM’s stab at Formula 1.