Mario Andretti claims Liberty CEO personally threatened to block team

Mario Andretti has claimed Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei personally threatened to block Michael Andretti’s attempts to enter a new team in Formula 1.

The Andretti Global entry was originally approved by the FIA as part of its analysis of which prospective new entrants met the governing body’s criteria, but then was knocked back by Formula One Management (FOM) when it came to joining the grid in 2025 or ’26. FOM stated it would be more open to accepting Andretti Cadillac if and when General Motors delivers its own power unit in 2028, but the initial deferral has led to members of U.S Congress and Senators taking an interest.

Mario Andretti was present when members of Congress held a press conference in Washington D.C. ahead the Miami Grand Prix, following a letter being written to Maffei asking for clarity over the lack of an entry for Andretti Cadillac.


Speaking to NBC News, the 1978 Formula 1 world champion says he was at an event in Miami and speaking to F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali about his presence in Washington when Maffei approached him.

“I was asked to go there (to Washington),” Andretti is quoted as saying. “And just as I was trying to explain that to Stefano, Greg Maffei, Mr. Maffei, broke in the conversation and he said: ‘Mario, I want to tell you that I will do everything in my power to see that Michael never enters Formula 1.’

“I could not believe that. That one really floored me. … We’re talking about business. I didn’t know it was something so personal. That was really — oh, my goodness. I could not believe it. It was just like a bullet through my heart.”

However, a source close to Liberty Media told RACER that the situation had played out differently, and that it had been Andretti who approached Maffei to discuss the matter.

There is understood to be skepticism within a selection of the sport’s stakeholders regarding the validity of Andretti’s claims that he did not bring the situation to the attention of Congress, with Andretti telling NBC “I did not initiate that” and suggesting it was a Red Bull show run on Pennsylvania Avenue earlier in April that caught they eye.

Since then, U.S. Senators have called on the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission to investigate what they describe as “the exclusion of Andretti Formula Racing, LLC from entering the Formula One Championship series,” despite FOM’s stance regarding an entry in 2028.

Story originally appeared on Racer