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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Hitech Seeks Formula 1 Entry Despite Expansion Questions

  • U.K.-based team seeks elevation as soon as 2026
  • F1 CEO Domenicali has downplayed expansion prospects, but application process has been initiated
David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

Considering the historic momentum and popularity surrounding Formula 1 — as seen again Monday with the Alpine team’s high-profile investment — a key question continues to surface: Will the property expand beyond its 10-team slate?

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali recently downplayed the notion, saying, “I think that 10 teams are more than enough to create the show and attention that we want to see on the track,” while the enforced scarcity of teams has been a fundamental component of rising investor interest.

Nevertheless, motorsports governing body FIA initiated an application process in February to identify potential F1 expansion teams.

The U.K.’s Hitech Grand Prix — which currently competes in the Formula 2, 3, and 4 junior series — has made such an application in the hopes of entering an F1 team beginning in 2026. The British team recently brought on investment from Kazakh billionaire Vladimir Kim, who now owns 25% of the operation.

The team said an F1 entry would “demonstrate that Hitech has all the right people, experience, and resources to compete alongside the best teams in the world.”

Hitech isn’t alone: Andretti Global, led by former F1 and CART driver Michael Andretti, is also eyeing a 2026 entry amid a planned partnership with Cadillac.

There are also financial concerns. The FIA set an entry fee of $200 million for new teams to account for prize-money dilution. But that figure was finalized in 2020, prior to F1’s commercial rise, and some existing teams are expected to argue to push the fee to at least $600 million.

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