The US House Judiciary Committee is seeking answers from commercial right holder Liberty Media over its rejection of Andretti Cadillac’s bid to enter the Formula 1 World Championship.

Just a week after 12 members of the US Congress expressed their strong concerns about how Andretti’s request to enter F1 was handled, the House Judiciary Committee’s Chairman, republican Jim Jordan, has written to Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei and to Formula One Management CEO Stefano Domenicali demanding clarification on the decision-making process that has thwarted the American team’s hopes of entering the sport in 2026.

American broadcaster NBC has published the contents of the letter in which Jordan seeks assurances from FOM that no illegal anti-competitive practices were involved, underscoring the Committee’s quest for transparency.

The Committee on the Judiciary is responsible for examining the sufficiency of federal competition laws to protect against monopolies and other unfair restraints on trade,” Jordan wrote.

“Sports leagues, like Formula 1, operate in a notable area of antitrust law in which some degree of collusion is necessary for the creation of the product.

“However, when a sports league deviates from its rules and practices in a manner that reduces competition and depresses consumer interest in the product, the collusion may amount to anti-competitive conduct.”

Jordan made clear in the Committee’s letter that he found certain explanations provided by F1 last January regarding the rejection of Andretti’s bid unacceptable, and that ultimately FOM’s veto was purely “about money”.

“The excuses put forward for denying Andretti Cadillac’s entry appear to be pretextual, arbitrary, and unrelated to Andretti Cadillac’s suitability to compete in Formula 1.

“For example, Formula 1 alleged that a new team could only add value to Formula 1 by ‘competing for podiums and race wins.’

“However, the FIA had already analysed—and approved of—the technical capabilities of Andretti Cadilac to compete among current teams, and most current teams in Formula 1 do not meet Formula 1’s standard of regularly competing for ‘podiums and race wins’

“Formula 1 also faulted Andretti Cadillac for attempting to use an existing engine manufacturer because it could ‘be damaging to the prestige and standing of’ Formula 1.

“At the same time, however, Formula 1 stated that if Andretti Cadillac used a new engine manufactured by General Motors in the team’s first year, a new engine would create a challenge for the new team.

Formula 1 cannot have it both ways. The truth, as FIA President Muhamed Ben Sulayem explained, is that the rejection of Andretti Cadillac is ‘all about money.’

“Weak teams want to be protected from competition to the detriment of consumers and an additional team would compete for prize money and sponsorships.

“If Formula 1 must hinder competition and harm consumers to protect failing competitors, then the entire Formula 1 model may be broken and the entity cannot hide behind the necessity of a sports league to pursue anti-competitive conduct.

“Delaying Andretti Cadillac’s entry into Formula 1 for even one year will harm American consumers to benefit failing Formula 1 teams.”

In an effort to facilitate the Committee’s inquiry, Jordan has insisted on obtaining documents and a staff-level briefing from F1 concerning the events in question.

©Andretti

According to NBC, he has specifically requested access to all documents and communications pertaining to the evaluation process of new team entries, including those related to Andretti, as well as any materials concerning F1’s decision to reject Andretti’s entry on January 31.

Moreover, he has demanded access to all documents and communications exchanged between F1 and the current ten teams regarding new team entries, along with any correspondence concerning new team entries or anti-dilution fees outlined in the Concorde Agreement.

Jordan has stipulated that he requires the briefing to occur at the earliest convenience, with a deadline no later than May 21st.

The US House Judiciary House Committee’s involvement clearly takes the political dimension of the issue involving Andretti’s entry into F1 to another level.

It indicates that the issue is being elevated to a higher level of scrutiny and potentially to a broader audience.

Overall, the risks for F1 involve not only potential legal and financial consequences but also the broader impact on its reputation and relationships within the motorsport industry.

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