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Andretti Snub US Congress to Probe F1's Refusal

Andretti Snub: US Congress to Probe F1’s Refusal

02/05/2024

The rejection of Andretti Global by F1 has led to a Congressional inquiry in the US, raising questions about compliance with competition laws.

The rejection of Andretti Global’s candidacy by F1 and its teams has escalated in the United States. Several members of Congress, the body comprising the Senate and the House of Representatives, are demanding answers from Liberty Media regarding the refusal to admit Andretti Global into Formula 1.

A letter from about ten members expresses “concerns regarding anti-competitive actions,” which lawmakers view as violating American competition law.

Liberty Media and the teams have rejected Andretti Global’s entry for 2025, merely leaving a door open for 2028, provided the team is powered by Cadillac, rather than having the General Motors brand merely as a nominal sponsor. However, Congress, led by Republican John James, is questioning the justification for this decision.

“The rejection by FOM appears to be driven by the current composition of the European Formula 1 teams, many of which are affiliated with foreign car manufacturers in direct competition with American car companies such as GM,” the letter states.

“It is unfair and erroneous to attempt to prevent American companies from joining Formula 1, which could also constitute a violation of American antitrust laws.”

“The participation of all Formula 1 teams, including American teams, should be based on merit and not be restricted to protecting the current list of racing teams. This is especially true as Formula 1’s presence grows in the United States, with races in Miami (Florida), Austin (Texas), and Las Vegas (Nevada).”

Three questions to which Liberty Media must respond.

The 12 members of Congress who have brought this letter to the attention of Liberty Media are now asking the owner of Formula 1 to answer three questions, aimed at understanding what motivated such a decision. Here are the questions:

“Under what authority does FOM proceed to reject the admission of Andreti Global? What is the reason for FOM’s rejection, specifically concerning Andretti Global and its partner GM, which could be the first American-owned and built racing team?”

“The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 prohibits unreasonable restrictions of competition in the market to produce the best possible outcome for the American consumer. How does FOM’s refusal to welcome Andretti Global and GM, American businesses, align with the requirements of the Sherman Act, since the decision benefits existing European racing teams and their foreign car manufacturing affiliates?”

“We understand that GM intends to reintroduce its Cadillac brand to the European market, which would support thousands of well-paid jobs in the American automobile industry, particularly through Formula 1’s global audience and the halo effect it has on its teams and sponsors. To what extent did GM and Andreti’s entry into the motorsport competition by taking a share of the racing market and GM’s entry into the European market by taking market shares play a role in the decision to deny Andretti Global team’s admission, given the public outcry of existing Formula 1 teams against a new American competitor?”

The letter concludes on a threatening note: “We continue to monitor this matter, and with the appropriate federal regulators, to ensure that any potential violation of U.S. anticompetitive legislation is investigated and prosecuted swiftly.”

Finally, Andretti Global has responded in a statement: “We are grateful to the bipartisan members of Congress for their support in challenging this anti-competitive behavior.”

“We hope that this can be resolved quickly so that Andretti-Cadillac can take its rightful place on the F1 grid in 2026.”

Andretti Snub: US Congress to Probe F1's Refusal

Andretti Snub: US Congress to Probe F1’s Refusal. Andretti Snub: US Congress to Probe F1’s Refusal

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