Formula 1 is one step closer to adding an 11th team to the grid.
The FIA has approved a bid led by American Michael Andretti, commencing the second phase of the expansion process, which will see the group engage in commercial discussions with Formula One Management.
F1 owner Liberty Media will make the final decision on the potential expansion, which will cost at least $200 million and could reach $600 million. The current 10 teams on the F1 grid have publicly opposed the idea of adding new teams but won’t get an official vote on the matter.
The last time F1 had more than 20 cars on the grid was 2016, when 11 teams fielded a total of 22. The maximum allowed under FIA guidelines would be 26.
An Andretti team wouldn’t launch until 2025 at the earliest.
F1’s Stock Still Rising
With F1’s recent explosion of popularity in the U.S. thanks to Netflix’s “Drive to Survive” docuseries, expanding the grid has been a hot topic as more motorsports stakeholders want in on the action.
In November, F1 is adding its third U.S. race in Las Vegas following the successful debut of the Miami Grand Prix last year. Austin, Texas, has hosted a grand prix since 2012.
Silicon Valley tech giant Apple is also reportedly interested in acquiring F1 media rights — and potentially willing to pay up to $2 billion annually.