Brown: No ‘anti-American culture’ within Formula 1

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McLaren Racing boss Zak Brown says that Formula 1’s rejection of Andretti Global’s bid to join the grid is by no means a reflection of “anti-American culture” in the sport.

Andretti’s proposal to enter F1 in 2026 was given an official green light by the FIA, only for the American outfit’s candidature to be blocked at the next level by Formula 1 itself.

However, the door has been left open for a potential entry in 2028, contingent upon Andretti securing a commitment from General Motors to develop their own engine for the project.

So far, team owner Michael Andretti has showed no signs of reining in his efforts to put his family’s name back on the F1 grid.

In early May, Michael’s father, racing legend Mario Andretti, visited Washington, D.C. to back a letter addressed to F1 by several Congressional representatives. This message sought to support the team’s F1 endeavors and expressed concerns about the fairness of the rejection process.

Additionally, a bipartisan group of senators has urged President Joe Biden's administration to investigate whether the rejection of Andretti's bid violated antitrust laws, with the group suggesting that “foreign automakers” may have colluded to block the team’s entry into the sport.

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But Brown has countered the notion of anti-American bias, emphasizing the significant changes F1 has undergone under Liberty Media’s leadership, and how it has increased Grand Prix racing’s appeal, especially in the US market.

"I don't think there's an anti-American culture within Formula 1 at all," Brown recently told ESPN.

"When you look at the sport, you've got European manufacturers, you've got Ford from North America, you've got Honda from Japan. So the sport is extremely global.

“I've never come across any favouritism or negativity towards any region of the world. The whole world participates in Formula 1.

"As it relates to America - Liberty's American - we've gone from one race to three races in America, including the single largest investment Formula 1 has ever made in anything, in Vegas.

“You have Ford, who have recently entered the sport. You have myself running one of the top teams in the sport. You have Netflix, which has been fantastic for the sport globally but specifically North America.

“And now on the tail end of that we have Brad Pitt, who's going to do a global movie that is U.S.-based, which will do wonders for the sport."

In essence, Brown believes Liberty Media is running F1 very effectively and that the Andretti situation isn't about nationality but about a business decision based on safeguarding the value to the sport.

"I think what Liberty has done for the sport is amazing. If you look at what we needed to do for the sport, we needed cost controls; we have it now, and it's producing the closest grid in the history of Formula 1," he said.

"I'm sympathetic to the frustrations [of Andretti], ... but the 'Formula 1 isn't welcoming America' ... I think it's unfortunate that the root of the issue [has moved away from being] between Andretti and Formula 1 and adding value."

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