Just a couple of days ago FIA head Mohammed Ben Sulayem said he wants more entries in the near future. Whether strategic or not, Cadillac’s efforts to burnish its brand coincide with those sentiments. Today GM and Andretti Global announced plans to go to Formula 1. We don’t know when Cadillac plans to enter into the prestigious international F1 team roster.
Will the Cadillac Andretti F1 entry use a Cadillac engine?
Still, in the announcement today, GM President Mark Reuss said Cadillac is already working with an engine supplier. Cadillac won’t be the engine supplier, but instead, will collaborate with an existing one. It will develop the chassis and aerodynamics for the project. Cadillac has already hired a technical director.
Development and technical support will initially bounce between Detroit and Andretti’s facility in Indiana. A European support facility is being readied in the U.K., but GM didn’t mention the specific locale. All of the current F1 teams are based out of Europe according to ESPN. GM also has a facility for NASCAR development in Charlotte, North Carolina, that could see some involvement.
“I feel very strongly that we are suited to be a new team for Formula One and can bring value to the series and our partners, and excitement for the fans,” said Michael Andretti. “I’m proud to have GM and Cadillac alongside us as we pursue this goal. GM and Andretti share a legacy born out of the love of racing. We now have the opportunity to combine our motorsport passions and dedication to innovation to build a true American F1 bid.”
Who will drive for the Cadillac Andretti F1 team?
For now, GM says only one American driver will drive for Cadillac. That person could be Colton Herta. He is tied to Andretti through his association with Gainbridge online annuity and life insurance company. Gainbridge is one of the sponsors of Andretti’s IndyCar efforts. Both Gainbridge and Herta have multi-year contracts with Andretti.
“Cadillac and Formula 1 both have growing global appeal,” said GM President Mark Reuss. “Our brand has a motorsports pedigree that’s more than a century in the making, and we would be proud to have the opportunity to bring our distinct American innovation and design to F1.”
When will the F1 effort begin racing?
While all of this bods well for both GM and Andretti Global, there is no guarantee that they’ll be approved for F1 racing. In fact, part of Mohammed Ben Sulayem’s comments revolved around more engine suppliers, too. So it is still a question as to whether FIA will approve Cadillac given they’re using an existing engine supplier.
There is a possibility that Cadillac already has an F1 engine in development. But with the costs to create an entirely new team and learning curve, it wants a relatively successful season or two, first. Also, the soonest they could see F1 action won’t be until 2025 or 2026. So there is still time to develop more than just a chassis if things start looking especially promising. But going with an existing engine maker means one less piece of the puzzle Cadillac has to worry about.
And GM is not the first automaker to make it into F1. Toyota fielded entries from 2002 to 2009, without ever winning even one race. We’ll keep our eyes on developments of GM’s stab into racing F1.