Home Sports Mario Andretti claims CEO of Formula 1 owner promised to shut out son Michael

Mario Andretti claims CEO of Formula 1 owner promised to shut out son Michael

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WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 1: Former racing driver Mario Andretti listens during a press conference on May 1, 2024 in Washington, DC. Rep. John James (R-MI) hosted Andretti on Capitol Hill to respond to Formula 1 management denying his family and General Motors the opportunity to join the world motorsports series. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Mario Andretti wants a Formula 1 team. Formula 1 is not so enthusiastic. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The battle to add an 11th team to Formula 1 is reportedly becoming personal.

Mario Andretti, the former Formula 1 champion whose son Michael is pushing to expand the grid, got into an altercation with Greg Maffei, chief executive of Formula 1 parent company Liberty Media, during the Miami Grand Prix earlier this month. , according to NBC News.

Andretti’s father reportedly said he was at an invitation-only breakfast reception at the Palm Club when Formula 1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali asked him about a recent visit to Washington. Andretti had recently spoken at Congress after F1 denied Michael’s offer to start racing in 2026.

Andretti allegedly told Domenicali that he was invited by Congress, at which point he claimed that Maffei entered the chat. Via NBC News:

“They asked me to go there. And just when I was trying to explain that to Stefano, Greg Maffei, Mr. Maffei interrupted the conversation and said, ‘Mario, I want to tell you that I will do everything in my power to make sure that Michael never enters Formula 1. ”Andretti said.

Maffei allegedly walked away after the comment and has not spoken to the elder Andretti since.

Andretti was apparently surprised:

“I couldn’t believe that,” he said. “That one really blew me away. …We’re talking business. He didn’t know it was so personal. That was really… oh my gosh. I could not believe it. “It was like a bullet went through my heart.”

Unsurprisingly, a Liberty Media source had a different recollection of the discussion:

“Andretti approached Greg at breakfast to talk to him,” the source told NBC News, adding that during the conversation, Maffei indicated to Andretti that his application to join the network in 2025 or 2026 was rejected on good grounds. commercial reasons.

The bid for an 11th team has become contentious, and Congress has entered the fray demanding answers about why Andretti Global must now wait until at least 2028. A dozen members of the US Congress wrote a letter invoking the Sherman Antitrust Act and emphasizing the potential job benefits for the General. Motors, whose Cadillac-branded engines would power Andretti cars starting in 2028.

Formula 1 is dominated by teams based in Europe. Liberty Media is an American company.

Andretti had already been approved for an F1 team by the FIA, the sport’s governing body, but F1 and its 10 teams denied the application in January, citing upcoming rule changes and the two-year gap between a 2026 entry. and that the engines would be ready in 2028.

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