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Mario Andretti

Shocked Andretti takes 'bullet through the heart' after personal vow from F1 owner

Andretti's push to join the Formula 1 grid has received several obstacles, but the prospective American outfit is continuing with its plans.

Mario Andretti
To news overview © XPBimages

Mario Andretti has claimed that Greg Maffei, the CEO of Liberty Media, personally told him he would ensure the Andretti Formula 1 project will never make the grid.

Andretti has been pushing to join the F1 paddock for a handful of years, with the project led by Mario's son Michael.

The scheme got approval from the FIA last year before Andretti entered discussions with the commercial rights holders.

After several months of talks, Andretti's bid to join the grid for 2026 was denied - however, the door was left open for a 2028 entry when Cadillac has signed up to enter as a power unit supplier.

Despite its refusal, Andretti has been pushing ahead with its plans and recently opened a new European base at Silverstone.

Peronsal vow

Speaking to NBC News, 1978 F1 champion Andretti revealed he was present at a breakfast reception last weekend where he was speaking to F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali about his recent press conference on Capitol Hill.

“I was asked to go there,” Andretti said. “And just as I was trying to explain that to Stefano, Greg Maffei, Mr. Maffei, broke in the conversation.

“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,” he said. “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.”

Andretti's bid received further support from US politicians earlier this weekend after a letter, signed by seven US senators, was sent to the Department of Justice calling for an investigation into Andretti's rejection.

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look back at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen and Lando Norris went head-to-head for the victory around the famous Imola Circuit as McLaren continue to pile the pressure on Red Bull!

Rather watch than listen to the podcast? Click here.

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