I can’t get over the GM drama in F1

I can’t get over the GM drama in F1

GM’s involvement in Formula 1. At least that’s GM’s intention. And it’s ready and willing to do so, according to today’s announcement. If Formula One is particularly affected by this plan, it makes it difficult to show.

It’s all a bit strange as Formula 1 continues to have varying degrees of involvement and significant investment from the big car companies. Mercedes is the biggest player at the moment, or Ferrari depending on how you think about it, but it wasn’t long ago that Renault was the number one team in the sport. Even in recent decades, we’ve seen full-fledged car teams from Toyota, Jaguar, serious work from Honda, BMW, Ford, and more that I’m probably forgetting. Oh, is it true, Peugeot sees? There is one.

All of these manufacturers maintained their teams, keeping Formula One afloat.

But Formula 1 can’t stand any team at any time.

Italian race car driver and businessman Enzo Ferrari 1898-1988 looks at a Brabham Repco during the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, September 4th 1966, Photo by Reg Lancaster Expressholton Archive Getty Images

A funny and somewhat tenuous GM/F1 engine connection is the Repco V-8 engine used by the Brabham F1 team to great success in the 1960s, which appears at the top of this article and is examined here by Enzo Ferrari. The Repco V-8 was a product of Brabham and Repco in Australia, based on the GM 215 production block used by Buick and Oldsmobile.

Reg Lancaster

Manufacturers are fickle. They come and go. A classic example of a team/manufacturer dynamic is Brawn GP. It was the Honda team, run by former Ferrari genius Ross Brawn. Honda spent huge sums of money on its Formula 1 effort with little to show for the most bizarre paint schemes in Formula 1 history. Then came the financial crisis and the Great Recession, and Honda found it very difficult to justify its spending on Formula 1. Ross Brawn bought Team for the pound in 2009, and with not enough money to keep the lights on at its factory and its workforce running, Brown won the opening race of the season and then the championship overall.

As a sport, Formula 1 needed companies like Honda, but it also needed the ability to continue without them. Formula 1 knows that ultimately, manufacturers with big money have a responsibility to shareholders, and will abandon the sport when times get tough and Formula 1 needs them most. Formula 1 has to keep its guard up.

With that in mind, I find the GM news fascinating. The central drama is that GM wants to join Formula 1, and it wants Andretti to join. GM wants to supply power units to Andretti Cadillac starting in 2028.

Now, Formula 1 certainly wants new manufacturers to supply power units to teams from 2026, the first year of new engine regulations. Audi is involved. Ford is involved. Honda is involved. These regulations are specifically designed to lure automakers in the door. But Formula 1 doesn’t quite fit in with GM. Why not?

Well, Formula 1 says it wants GM to transfer its money to an existing team, as we reported today:

Andretti Global, which was the only team approved by the FIA ​​in its recent search for viable new Formula 1 teams, still needs approval from Formula 1 itself before it can enter the championship. This process is ongoing and has become controversial, with direct quotes from executives indicating an open attempt by current members of the Formula 1 grid to bring in GM without the acceptance of Andretti’s team. Williams CEO James Vowles has optimistically suggested an intention to poach GM as a partner after loudly objecting to Andretti’s Formula 1 bid. Reports from the Associated Press indicate that Formula 1 itself has asked the company to dump Andretti to partner with an existing team. But GM President Mark Reuss simply stated this week that “GM is committed to partnering with Andretti to race in Formula 1.”

Assuming that Formula 1 is acting in good faith, then presumably the GM would have to write checks to an existing team, if it wants to join the sport. Remember that Formula 1 teams do not necessarily want to have more competitors. The teams split all the collective prize money. If Formula 1 can continue with its current 10 teams, those 10 teams will be happier and richer than if there were 11. That’s millions of dollars at stake. This drama!

I have no idea how to get rid of all this. It’s possible GM could step into F1 with Andretti’s Cadillac, but also supply power units to Williams or another team, either immediately or in a post-season a year or two down the road. Or Andretti could be fired, GM would keep racing sports cars, and the world would keep turning. At least until another financial collapse occurs, Formula 1 budgets tighten, and teams start wondering what happened to all the carmakers in the sport.

Shot by Rafael Orlov

Deputy editor-in-chief

The deputy editor of Road & Track who once stuck a Dakar-winning race truck in a sand dune, rolled a Baja Bug down an icy New York road, went flying off Mount Washington in a Nissan 240SX rally car, and…

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