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05/24/24 02:17:00

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05/24 14:15 CDT Red Bull's Horner 'surprised' that thwarted F1 bid by Andretti has become political Red Bull's Horner 'surprised' that thwarted F1 bid by Andretti has become political By JEROME PUGMIRE AP Auto Racing Writer MONACO (AP) --- Red Bull boss Christian Horner expressed his surprise that Formula 1's decision to block Andretti Cadillac's attempt to join the series has reached the U.S. Congress. This week, six U.S. senators asked the Department of Justice to examine whether F1's decision to stop Andretti Cadillac becoming F1's 11th team violated any antitrust laws. "I was 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," team principal Horner said on Friday at the Monaco Grand Prix. "I think the most natural solution is for them to acquire an existing franchise should one want to sell." GM, under its Cadillac brand, is part of the Andretti Cadillac effort that has been denied by Formula One Management in its request to expand the F1 grid. Although Michael Andretti's bid was approved by motorsport governing body the FIA, FOM then rejected the application to join in 2025 or 2026 because it did not believe Andretti would be competitive. F1 management has softened its stance somewhat with a vow to reconsider the application in 2028, when GM has an engine ready to compete. Horner said he "absolutely" welcomed Andretti and Cadillac to F1. Michael Andretti, who had 13 races as an F1 driver, is the son of 1978 world champion Mario Andretti. "Andretti has great racing heritage. Mario is a legend of the sport. And of course, Cadillac (is) a huge automotive manufacturer from the US," Horner said. "I think to protect the current franchises and stability that we have in the sport, then obviously their best route to goal is to acquire one of the existing teams." An example of that is how Sauber will team up with Audi for F1 entry in 2026. "Audi shows the right path to come to Formula 1. Of course, Cadillac is a big player and it qualifies this project as a potentially good project," Sauber team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi said on Friday. "But there is a way that is to buy into an existing team and I think that the process put in place by Formula 1 is a clear one. Very robust project. So I think that they know which could be the (right) way." Horner refuted any notion that there was an agenda against Andretti and he also praised how F1's American owner, Liberty Media, has both grown the series and made teams stronger. "This isn't about anything to do with Andretti being American. Everything is purely down to the business model that is Formula 1," he said. "Liberty have to be congratulated for that, because they created a model where even the worst team in Formula 1 probably has a billion-dollar valuation." ___ AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing
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