US Senators have called on the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate F1’s refusal to join Andretti Global

Six US senators have called on the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Formula 1 management’s decision to reject Andretti’s offer to join the grid in 2025 or 2026.

According to a copy of the letter he obtained The athleteA bipartisan group of senators suggested, “It is possible that such a refusal to deal — especially if organized through a mass boycott — could violate U.S. antitrust laws.”

The 10 teams have no say, but have repeatedly expressed concerns about the potential consequences of expanding the network.

This letter was sent to Lina Khan, Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, and Jonathan Kanter, Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. Among the influential senators who signed the letter is Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust. The letter comes after the House Judiciary Committee began an investigation into the same matter.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the committee’s chairman, wrote a letter to Liberty Media Chairman and CEO Greg Maffei and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali on May 7, requesting numerous documents and communications as well as a “task force.” “Level Media Briefing” regarding FOM’s decision to reject Andretti’s offer.

An F1 spokesman declined to comment on the matter.

At the heart of this ongoing situation is whether FOM has engaged in anti-competitive conduct. As stated in the senators’ letter, the FIA’s remit focuses on technical and sporting merits, and the governing body approved Andretti’s bid last fall. Hence, the decision fell to FOM, the commercial rights holder.

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They declined the offer for several reasons but kept the door open to the possibility of the team participating in the future.

One question mark around this process is the concept of added value. F1 said its research showed that “F1 will bring value to the Andretti brand and not the other way around” and that it “was not able to identify any expected material positive impact on CRH’s financial results”.

The statement added: “Based on the application as it currently stands, we do not believe that the applicant has demonstrated that it will add value to the tournament. We conclude that the applicant’s application to participate in the tournament should not be successful.

The value-added aspect is something the senators discussed in their letter, detailing F1’s investment in growing the American fanbase. They highlighted the growth in viewership and an increase to three races.

“Even individual teams, like Red Bull, are courting American fans by hosting events in American cities “to get up close and personal with the marvel of Formula 1 engineering, which brings together Formula 1 fans.” There is clearly a financial incentive to add an American team to the Fl roster, and there is A reason to prevent the Andretti-Cadillac team unless FOM tries to isolate its current partners from the competition.

The involvement of the FTC or the Department of Justice would significantly escalate the ongoing situation as both entities could enforce antitrust law.

The Senators concluded their letter by sharing that they had “serious concerns that the rejection of the Andretti-Cadillac team was based on a desire to exclude a competitor from the racetrack, the marketing opportunities, and the prestige that competing in Formula 1 would give a rival automaker.” To sell cars all over the world.

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Formula 1 key technical figure Symonds joins Andretti

In another sign of its continued push to join the grid, Andretti announced on Tuesday that Pat Symonds, the outgoing Formula 1 technical director, would join the team.

Symonds has been in his position in Formula 1 since March 2017 and has been a key engineer in shaping the current era of car design regulations starting in 2022.

After initially planning to retire once the new rules came into effect, 70-year-old Symonds has opted to continue in Formula 1 following Ross Brawn’s departure at the end of 2022.

He has been placed on gardening leave by Formula 1, but once that is completed, he will begin working with Andretti as an executive engineering consultant.

Michael Andretti, Chairman and CEO of Andretti Global, said Simmonds’ contribution will be “instrumental as we continue to build a competitive team” and that his “vote of confidence in joining our efforts speaks volumes.”

Symonds’ arrival will be a further boost to the growing Andretti F1 project, in which former Renault F1 technical chief Nick Chester is leading the design group as it works to create its first car while still waiting for the green light to join the field. . — Luke Smith, Formula 1 senior writer

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(Photo: Gary Mock/IndyStar/USA Today)

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