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Brad Keselowski-Led NASCAR Community Consoles “Devastated” Mario Andretti After Disrespectful F1 Rejection

Published 02/01/2024, 11:13 AM EST

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The recent news about Andretti Global’s rejection by the Formula 1 governing body has saddened the racing community. Led by 1978 Formula 1 world champion Mario Andretti and his son Michael, the team wanted to enter the competition after its partnership with American manufacturer Cadillac. However, Formula One Management has rejected the bid, citing a projected lack of competitiveness from Andretti’s team in the sport.

The decision to exclude Mario Andretti and co in the 2024 season came after consulting with the existing F1 teams. The sad turn of events has deeply hurt the motor sports legend, and he expressed the same through a tweet. Being a popular personality in the NASCAR community, Andretti’s colleagues have voiced their thoughts on the conundrum, led by the 2012 Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski.

Dejected Mario Andretti could still make it to F1 in 2028

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Revealing his dejection after the Formula 1 governing body rejected his team’s pursuit of an eleventh spot on the grid, Mario Andretti tweeted, I’m devastated. I won’t say anything else because I can’t find any other words besides devastated.”

Formula 1’s decision-making body, FIA, had cleared the Andretti Cadillac partnership for a successful appeal to the sport’s commercial rights holder, Formula One Management. Multiple factors had to be considered here. Cadillac had already applied to be a power-unit manufacturer in the sport. However, with the agreement beginning in 2028, Mario Andretti and the team were stranded. F1 stated that the door is open for a possible entry in 2028, but not any sooner.

F1’s statement read, “we would look differently on an application for the entry of a team into the 2028 championship with a GM power unit, either as a GM works team or as a GM customer team designing all allowable components in-house.”

Cup Series driver-owner Brad Keselowski tweeted, Sorry. This stinks. Keselowski’s transition to ownership faced no hindrances from NASCAR. However, NASCAR’s charter system favouring him was one of the primary reasons behind it. Door Bumper Clear host and former Kaulig Racing crew chief Brett Griffin also claimed foul as he wrote, “That’s BS.”

Former IndyCar driver Derek Daly also expressed his disappointment on Twitter, as he posted, “A true American team rejected…short sighted something here….American investment is what made F1 strong in recent years….now American investment rejection?????”

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The list of notable personalities to express their frustration at a motorsport legend failing to find a spot on the F1 grid continued. Former NASCAR drivers Kyle Petty and Kenny Wallace also joined the NASCAR fans in the movement.

Kyle Petty has a similar viewpoint as Andretti

Former driver and Richard Petty Motorsports executive Kyle Petty has reasonable experience dealing with motorsport governing bodies. Having witnessed Mario Andretti’s rejection, Petty tweeted, You and race fans all across America, claiming that the American motorsport community experienced the same feeling as the legendary driver.

Kenny Wallace expressed his thoughts along the same lines as he stated, “Really sorry @MarioAndretti.”

One of the NASCAR fans denounced Formula 1’s reasoning for prohibiting Mario Andretti’s return to the sport and the money-minded ideology, as he wrote, “I’ll say it. They’re not racers anymore, Mario. They only care about showing up to collect their money.”

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“They are a mafia. Indycar is better and fairer. Just have to worry about making it grow and reach more people,” commented another fan, inviting the Andretti Cadillac collaboration to prestigious IndyCar racetracks.

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It is regrettable to see someone of Mario Andretti’s stature being stopped from expanding his ventures for miscellaneous reasons. Despite Andretti being a champion of the sport, it seems Formula One Management won’t be budging from its stance.

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Written by:

Ansuman Abhisek

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Ansuman Abhisek is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. Even before he made his way into the world of motorsports, he had already made a name for himself in the sports journalism field by working as a writer for a few media houses. Now, having covered multiple Cup races live, he has often been the first to report on-track incidents and also provide his readers with an in-depth analysis of the same.
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Edited by:

Rohan Karnad