U.S. Congress questions F1 over Andretti exclusion

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United States Congress has written to Formula One requesting an explanation over its decision to reject Andretti’s bid to join the grid until 2028 at the earliest.

The letter, signed by a dozen members of Congress, raised “concerns with apparent anti-competitive actions that could prevent two American companies, Andretti Global and General Motors (GM), from producing and competing in Formula 1.”

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Andretti’s hopes of becoming an F1 team in a technical partnership with GM brand Cadillac in 2025 or 2026 were scuppered by Formula One Management (FOM) earlier this year.

The bid had previously been signed off by racing’s governing body, the FIA, although Andretti needed a commercial rights deal with FOM in order to compete.

In rejecting the bid, F1 said it did not feel Andretti would not be competitive in such a short timeframe or that it would be adding value to the championship.

F1 left the door open for Andretti to enter by 2028 if it can convince General Motors to build its own engine, rather than just entering as a technical partner.

Mario Andretti, 1978 world champion and son of the team’s boss Michael, visited Capitol Hill on Wednesday to support the letter.

Ahead of Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix, the letter raised three questions for the series to answer.

“Under the Concorde Agreement, Formula 1’s governing document, up to 12 teams can participate. Currently, there are 10 teams competing in Formula 1 races. Previously the FIA Launched and led a comprehensive application process with the purpose of allowing one or more prospective teams to join Formula 1 racing series. Andretti Global, with its partner GM, submitted an application, and after receiving four applications, the FIA approved Andretti Global. Under what authority does FOM proceed to reject admission of Andretti Global? What is the rationale for FOM’s rejection, especially with respect to Andretti Global and its partner GM potentially being the first American-owned and America-built race team?

“The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 outlaws unreasonable restraints on market competition to produce the best outcome for the American consumer. How does FOM’s denial of Andretti Global and GM, American-owned companies, square with Sherman Act requirements, since the decision will benefit incumbent European racing teams and their foreign automobile manufacturing affiliates?

“We understand that GM intends to re-introduce its Cadillac brand into the European market, which would support thousands of good-paying American automotive jobs, especially with Formula 1’s worldwide audience and its halo effect on its teams and sponsors. How much did GM’s and Andretti’s entrance into racing competition taking a portion of the racing market share and GM’s entry into the European market taking market share each play into the decision to deny admission to the Andretti Global team, given the public outcry of incumbent Formula 1 teams against a new American competitor?”

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