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Zak Brown denies anti-American bias in F1 following Andretti rejection

McLaren CEO Zak Brown refuted claims of an "anti-American" bias following the rejection of Andretti's proposal to join the Formula 1 grid.

Earlier this year, the sport's governing body, the FIA, had given Andretti's bid preliminary approval before Formula 1 ultimately declined the proposal.

Despite this setback, Andretti continued to pursue their ambitions to join the F1 grid. The team established a base in the United Kingdom and appointed Pat Symonds to head their technical operations.

Furthermore, Andretti's plight caught the attention of the US Congress, leading to a strongly worded letter being sent to the Department of Justice. The letter accused "foreign auto-makers" of obstructing Andretti's entry into Formula 1.

Brown, however, dismissed the notion of any bias against Andretti. "I don't think there's an anti-American culture within Formula 1 at all," he told ESPN.

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

Brown emphasized the significant American presence and influence in the current Formula 1 landscape. "Liberty Media, the commercial rights holder of F1, is American," he noted.

"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."

Highlighting further evidence of America's integral role in F1, Brown mentioned, "Ford has recently entered the sport. I run one of the top teams in the sport. Netflix has been fantastic for the sport globally but specifically in North America.

"And now, we have Brad Pitt, who's going to do a global movie based in the U.S., which will do wonders for the sport."

Brown acknowledged the frustration felt by Andretti but stressed that the issue should not be framed as anti-American sentiment. "I'm sympathetic to the frustration, but the claim that 'Formula 1 isn't welcoming America' is unfortunate. The root issue is between Andretti and Formula 1 about adding value."

The next event on the F1 calendar is the Canadian Grand Prix, scheduled for the weekend of June 7-9. This race, set to be the ninth of the season, will take place over 70 laps on the 4.361-kilometre Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal. The event promises to be an exciting chapter in the ongoing 2024 Formula 1 season, with fans eagerly anticipating the outcome.

As the debate over Andretti's entry continues, the broader question of how Formula 1 integrates new teams and markets remains a pertinent issue. Brown's comments underscore the sport's global nature and the ongoing efforts to expand its reach, particularly in North America.

Whether Andretti's bid will ultimately succeed is still uncertain, but the discussion has certainly highlighted the complexities of joining Formula 1.

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