Mario Andretti: Liberty CEO Says Andretti Cadillac F1 Entry Will Never Be Granted

former race car driver mario andretti joins rep john james for capitol hill press conference
Mario Andretti: Liberty CEO Blocking Andretti F1Anna Moneymaker - Getty Images

Mario Andretti says Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei informed him that he will “do everything in my power” to ensure Andretti is never granted a Formula 1 entry.

Andretti, led by Mario’s son Michael, has been striving to enter Formula 1 for several years and lodged an application to join the championship from 2026, which was granted by governing body the FIA.

But Andretti’s attempt was declined by commercial rights holder Liberty Media in January.

Andretti has been pushing on with its plans, still aiming for 2026, and has expanded its facility at Silverstone while recruiting personnel.

The latest of these was Pat Symonds, who will join as a technical consultant once his period of gardening leave with Formula 1 comes to a close.


Formula 1’s stance on Andretti’s effort has not changed since its application was rejected in January.

The championship has reiterated that the door potentially remains open for Andretti to enter in 2028.

According to NBC News, 84-year-old Mario and Liberty CEO Maffei had a conversation during an event at the Miami Grand Prix, where Maffei delivered his thoughts.

“I was asked to go there,” said Mario to NBC News. “And just as I was trying to explain that to [Formula 1 CEO] Stefano [Domenicali], 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.”

When explaining its decision in January Formula 1 said it did not believe that the presence of an 11th team—irrespective of the entrant—would bring value to the championship, and it outlined that it did not believe Andretti would anyway be competitive.

“We’re bringing something of value,” said Mario. “It’s a big investment in the sport that we love or sport that’s our job and our passion. It’s a long-term commitment. We’ve done everything that needs to be accomplished, needs to be done to earn a spot in Formula 1. What else do you want us to do?”