Horner ‘surprised’ Andretti have gone to Congress

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MONTE CARLO, Monaco — Christian Horner said he is surprised Andretti has gone to the U.S. Congress in a bid to overturn F1’s decision to block its attempt to join the championship.

Andretti’s cause has been taken up by a group of six U.S. senators who have asked the Department of Justice to look at whether F1’s decision violated antitrust laws.

Former world champion Mario Andretti, father of team owner Michael, went to Congress in Washington earlier this month in support of the process.

In a letter written earlier this week, the group suggested “foreign automakers” had conspired against the American team, which was hoping to join F1 in 2025 or 2026. Although it blocked entry in the short term, F1 has left the door open for Andretti to join in 2028 on the proviso it can secure a commitment from American manufacturer General Motors to build an F1 engine as part of the bid.

When asked if he was concerned about the interest from Congress, Horner said: “We’re U.S. owned. We have five Fortune 500 companies on our car.

“I think this isn’t about anything to do with Andretti being American. I think everything is purely down to the business model that is Formula One.

“I remember not so long ago that there would always be two teams at the tail end of the grid needing to be bailed out or be technically insolvent. We finally got them to a position where there’s great strength and health in Formula One, and Liberty have to be congratulated for that, because they created a model where even the worst team in Formula One probably has a billion-dollar valuation. And Liberty have created that model.

“I think the approach that they’ve brought by opening up the sport as well by bringing in a new fandom, new fans into the sport, they have to be commended on it. I’m surprised to see that Andretti have gone down this process. But hopefully, if they really want to find a way onto the grid, they will find it. I think the most natural solution is for them to acquire an existing franchise should one want to sell.”

F1’s decision outlined several detailed reasons why Andretti was not accepted in for 2025 or 2026. There were concerns over whether Andretti, who would have had to use a Renault engine in the short-term, could be competitive.

F1 also doubted Andretti’s bid in its current form would bring value to the championship.

Horner said Andretti should consider whether joining as an 11th team is their best option going forward.

“Look, absolutely. I think Andretti is a great racing heritage. Mario [Andretti] is a legend of the sport, and of course Cadillac, a huge automotive manufacturer from the U.S.. I think Formula One have said in 2028, if they were to come in with their own engine, they would obviously I think review it.

“But I think in addition to that, I think if Andretti want to come in, a little like when Audi acquired Sauber, I think to protect the current franchise stability that we have in this sport, then obviously their best route to goal is to then acquire one of the existing teams.”

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