Williams ‘very strongly against’ Andretti’s F1 bid
Williams team principal, James Vowles, has expressed strong opposition to Andretti’s bid to join Formula One as the 11th team on the grid. The FIA recently approved Andretti’s application, pending approval from F1’s commercial rights holder, Liberty Media, with a potential entry slated for 2026, although the timeline remains uncertain and may extend into early next year, according to sources.
Vowles speaks ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix,
Vowles, speaking ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix, clarified Williams’ stance, emphasizing their concern over the dilution of revenue shares from F1’s prize money, given their financial challenges. Despite its rich history, Williams has faced a tough decade on the track, with recent championship finishes of 10th, 10th, 10th, 8th, and 10th.
He stated, “Williams is firmly against the addition of an eleventh team and strongly so.” He further explained, “My responsibility is to 900 employees, and if you look at our financial reports, you’ll see significant losses, particularly in recent years. We’re investing in the sport to improve and believe in its direction.”
Williams reported a revenue increase to £142.8 million in 2022, up from £96.4 million in 2021 and £48.6 million in 2020. However, the team also reported losses, with a £17.9 million loss after tax in 2022, compared to £11.9 million in 2021 and £58.5 million in 2020.
Vowles emphasized that it’s not about greed but about ensuring the financial stability of the sport before introducing new teams. He pointed out that only when the existing teams are financially stable should an eleventh team be considered.
He added, “We are open to welcoming new entrants, but it’s crucial that the sport grows rather than shrinks as a result. We need to be careful about diluting the sport we have now.”
Vowles also mentioned the possibility of working with General Motors (GM) as an engine manufacturer if they decide to enter F1 independently of Andretti, although he clarified that no discussions have taken place yet. He expressed a willingness to collaborate with GM, emphasizing that it could enhance the sport’s quality.