A decision from the FIA on Formula 1 expansion is expected within the next month. Once that decision is finalized, who could fill the additional seats?
Four different groups have submitted formal applications to become the 11th and 12th teams on the Formula 1 grid. A formal decision from the FIA on that expansion is expected soon, and it is looking increasingly likely that Andretti Cadillac and Hitech Grand Prix are the frontrunners for the new team slots.
There has been plenty of pushback on adding teams to the grid from current team principals. However, the decision is solely up to the FIA, and the delay in announcing any plans — or lack thereof — to add teams leads us to believe that they are planning out how they want to roll out the big news.
With the summer break underway and silly season about to ramp up, it’s never too early to speculate who might occupy the four potential new seats.
Here are five new drivers who could be on the grid come 2026.
Formula 1 expansion drivers: No. 1 – Colton Herta
Colton Herta is essentially a shoo-in for one of the Andretti seats. He has been with Andretti Autosport since the 2017 Indy Lights season and it is nearly impossible to see him with any other team.
The Californian has been tied to several rumors surrounding a potential transition to Formula 1 for a few years. Last year, he was linked to AlphaTauri to drive alongside Yuki Tsunoda, but an issue with FIA Super License points prevented him from making the switch. Nyck de Vries, who has since been replaced by Daniel Ricciardo, got the seat instead.
While Herta is one of IndyCar’s many young stars, the inconsistency we have seen from him over the past few seasons will not bode well in Formula 1, especially with a team trying to make a name for themselves in the series.