Lawmakers Demand Answers From Formula 1’s Company

Photo by Clément Delacre on Unsplash

( – A bipartisan coalition of U.S. lawmakers has sent a letter challenging Formula 1’s parent company, Liberty Media, over the exclusion of Andretti Global from the elite motorsport’s lineup. The inquiry, directed at Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei, scrutinizes what the lawmakers describe as “apparent anti-competitive actions” that have barred the team’s entry, particularly as the sport’s popularity surges in the United States, which now hosts three Grand Prix events.

In January, F1 officials declined Michael Andretti’s application to become part of the racing grid. Subsequently, Michael’s father, racing icon Mario Andretti, escalated the issue to Congress, seeking influential allies to champion their cause.

The legislators’ correspondence invokes the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890, emphasizing that it prohibits unreasonable market competition restraints, ostensibly to protect American consumers’ interests. They speculate that the rejection may be an effort to shield F1’s predominantly European teams from new American competitors, possibly breaching U.S. antitrust laws.

The lawmakers have requested a prompt response from Liberty Media, setting a deadline by week’s end. They underscored their commitment to overseeing the situation to swiftly address and rectify any violations of U.S. competition laws.

This legislative move coincides with the Miami Grand Prix, a highlight of F1’s calendar, attracting celebrity attention to Florida. At a press event, Michael Andretti appeared with Republican Representatives John James (Mich.), Greg Pence (Ind.), and Victoria Spartz (Ind.), reinforcing the push against F1’s decision.

The refusal to admit the U.S.-based Andretti team, backed by General Motors and Cadillac for engine production, was primarily because F1 doubted the team’s potential contribution to the championship. The initiative to challenge this decision was spearheaded by Rep. John James, joined by group of lawmakers including representatives from both main political parties across various states.

Formula 1 currently maintains a roster of 10 teams and 20 drivers for each Grand Prix, tightly controlling its competitive environment.

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