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GM and Andretti are taking a shot at Formula 1

<i>Lars Baron/Getty Images</i><br/>General Motors
Getty Images
Lars Baron/Getty Images
General Motors

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN Business

General Motors, with its Cadillac luxury brand, has joined racing team managers Andretti Global in a bid to race in the prestigious Formula One Championship series.

Together, they plan to submit a formal “Expression of Interest” to the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, or FIA, the sport’s governing body. If approved, GM and Andretti would field the Andretti Cadillac racing team in Formula One, widely considered to be the pinnacle of motorsports around the world.

Formula One racing involves open-wheeled, winged cars that use V6 engines with hybrid technology. They cars can produce over 1,000 horsepower and reach speeds of over 200 miles per hour on track.

The sport is incredibly expensive and teams can spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Success is not guaranteed, of course. Toyota competed from 2002 to 2009 and was reportedly among the sport’s biggest spenders, but never won a single race.

Formula 1 racing has found increased popularity in the United States, Cadillac’s main market. The Netflix documentary series “Drive to Survive” has been one factor that has increased the sport’s visibility in the US, and races in Miami and Las Vegas have been added to the race calendar in recent years. Before 2022, the only Formula One races in the US in the past decade were held in Austin, TX.

Luxury car brands like Mercedes, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin and, of course, Ferrari — a brand that, quite literally, made its name in Grand Prix racing — all compete in Formula One. It costs hundreds of millions of dollars in just a single season to compete, but Formula One is seen as highly prestigious and regarded as the top tier of racing. Other brands, like Porsche and Audi, are also reportedly looking at ways to join the series.

About 10 teams compete in Formula One racing at any given time, a number that rarely changes. The FIA recently announced that it would soon open a formal review process for applications to field a team in the series. That process has not started yet, though.

GM already competes under the Cadillac, Corvette and Chevrolet names in IMSA sports car racing and endurance races, Nascar, Indy Car and NHRA drag races, among other types of racing.

Andretti Global is headed by Michael Andretti, a former racing driver and the son of another famous racing driver, Mario Andretti. His son, Marco Andretti, races in the IndyCar series. The company fields teams in a number of different racing series.

“Together, we will continue to follow procedures and steps put forth by the FIA during the evaluation process. In the meantime, we continue to optimistically prepare should we be fortunate enough to have Andretti Cadillac formally approved as a Formula One contender,” Michael Andretti said in a statement.

Andretti Global previously attempted to join Formula One by purchasing one of the existing teams, but was unable to reach any sort of a deal. The announcement that the FIA would consider new applicants opened up another opportunity to participate, said Ryann Weatherford, an Andretti spokesperson.

By teaming up with Cadillac and, if successful, hiring an American driver, Andretti and GM would be able to field a “truly All-American team” in the sport, she said.

The companies will work together to develop a car within the confines of FIA’s strict rules for the series, GM spokesman Michael Albano said. GM and Andretti hope to work on their power unit, as the engine and hybrid system is called, with Alpine, a sports car brand owned by France’s Renault, Albano added.

Alpine already competes in Formula 1. GM will bring its expertise in turbocharging, fuel combustion and battery systems to the development process, he said.

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