Henry Payne: Andretti-Cadillac, Congress threaten F1 with anti-trust action for denying entry

Henry Payne, The Detroit News on

Published in Auto Racing

DETROIT — The Andretti Cadillac race team is turning up the heat on Formula One in its bid to enter the world’s fastest open-wheel motorsport.

Michigan Rep. John James, R-Shelby Township, joined legendary race driver Mario Andretti at a Capitol Hill news conference Wednesday, warning Formula One of federal antitrust action if it does not reconsider its decision against letting Andretti Cadillac participate in the global series. A bipartisan group of twelve congressional representatives — including James and fellow Michigan Reps. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, and Haley Stevens, D-Birmingham — signed a letter to Formula One's Colorado-based owner, Liberty Media, demanding answers.

“We write to express our concerns with apparent anti-competitive actions that could prevent two American companies, Andretti Global and General Motors, from producing and competing in Formula One,” opened the letter.

The series' rejection of America’s team, Andretti Cadillac, for entry into the sport in 2026 has set off a firestorm of criticism in the United States and revealed fissures in F1’s governing body between the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, which approved Andretti Cadillac’s entry) and its 10 race teams (Formula One Manufacturers), which rejected the deal.

“FOM’s rejection appears to be driven by the current lineup of European Formula One race teams, many of which are affiliated with foreign automobile manufacturers that directly compete with American auto companies like GM,” continues the congressional letter. “It is unfair and wrong to attempt to block American companies from joining Formula One, which could also violate American anti-trust laws.”

The letter demands that F1 explain, first, the rationale for Andretti Cadillac’s rejection given that the series governance allows up to 12 teams to participate (10 currently compete); second, its compliance with the Sherman Antitrust Act, and, third, whether its decision was intended to blunt Cadillac’s reintroduction into the European passenger car market.


“Liberty Media is kicking the can down the road to get more money for themselves at the expense of having (Mario Andretti) racing on America’s 250th anniversary,” thundered James, standing next to Andretti as the Capitol dome loomed behind them. “If you want access to our market (and) fans, you must grant access to our companies.”

The Capitol Hill news conference came just two days before the Miami Grand Prix — the first of three F1 races in the United States this year (the others are Austin, Texas, in October and Las Vegas in November) — and a planned meeting between Andretti Cadillac and F1. Further eroding trust, the race series has never met with the prospective team.

American firms do have a presence in F1 today. GM rival Ford Motor Co. has partnered with Britain’s Red Bull, the reigning F1 champion, as a battery supplier for 2028 and North Carolina-based Haas has competed since 2016 — but no entity has the gravity of Andretti Cadillac with its storied motorsports heritage and massive GM powertrain investment.

Formula One Management’s patronizing dismissal in a February letter of two icons of American motorsport as “a novice entrant” with little “understanding of the scope of the challenge involved” created loud blowback.


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