The FIA has officially approved Andretti Motorsport for the 2026 Formula 1 grid. However, they still await the approval of the FOM. This means that the FOM will consult the existing teams of the sport. It will be interesting to see how Mercedes votes for this change as Lewis Hamilton and his fans were not happy when Mario Andretti made some comments on the 7-time Champion in 2020.
During the year, 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement reached its peak after the deaths of George Floyd and Breanna Taylor. Lewis Hamilton, along with a number of other Formula 1 drivers showed their support to this. Lewis Hamilton was actively posting on social media and making statements during the races during this time. As a show of support, the Mercedes team introduced an all-black livery which continues to be on the grid today.
I’m all for an 11th team on the grid but I have no time for Andretti. That’s just me, celebrate away.
*and no this isn’t an invitation for debate in my mentions.
(Note: the SS of LH’s tweet wasn’t about Andretti but I feel like the words ring true here) pic.twitter.com/3bf5K0CLgw
— Athena 🏳️🌈 (@tarmactorque) October 2, 2023
While Hamilton was making these comments, Mario Andretti, who won the Formula 1 Championship in 1978, gave an interview where he was asked what he thought about Lewis Hamilton’s activity on the BLM movement. At the time, Andretti was 80 years old.
“I have a lot of respect for Lewis, but why become a militant? He’s always been accepted and he’s earned everyone’s respect. I think the whole point of this is pretentious. I feel that way. And it’s creating a problem that doesn’t exist.”
He openly called Lewis Hamilton a militant and pretentious for supporting the BLM movement. At the time, Lewis Hamilton called out other F1 drivers, teams, and officials to show their support for the BLM movement. All of them responded to this.
When Lewis Hamilton accused Andretti of ignorance
Soon after Mario Andretti called Lewis Hamilton a militant and pretentious, Lewis Hamilton did not waste time in responding. He posted a message on social media that read:
“This is disappointing but unfortunately a reality that some of the older generation who still have a voice today cannot get out of their own way and acknowledge there is a problem. Again, this is plain ignorance but that will not stop me from continuing to push for change. It is never too late to learn and I hope that this man who I’ve always had respect for can take the time to educate himself.”
“This is plain ignorance but that will not stop me from continuing to push for change.”
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) July 21, 2020
Now with Andretti Motorsport getting close to entering the Formula 1 grid, these comments have resurfaced. It may not be a good thing for Andretti as they are trying to prove to the FOM that they can have a positive impact on the sport’s value in the long run. These resurfaced comments will not be in favor of Andretti Motorsport.
The FOM is currently evaluating the bid from Andretti. Only if they accept it, their entry into the sport in 2026 will be approved. This would bring an 11th team into the sport. They will be the second American team in Formula 1 after Haas. It has been speculated that Andretti will have a partnership with Cadilac to supply them with power units for their first season in Formula 1.