The famous Andretti family has long been involved in motor racing; Mario, Michael and now Marco have all enjoyed and are enjoying careers with racing cars (there are more, but these three are the most well-known). However, the family have all tended to stay in American series’ aside from grandfather Mario. The elder driver raced in Formula One with success, winning the title in 1978 and taking twelve victories in his career. Son Michael attempted Formula One in 1993, but it was a disaster from the start and Michael didn’t see the year out.
Michael didn’t do so well behind the wheel of an F1 car and the American driver could only manage a third place at Monza before leaving the McLaren team with mutual agreement; McLaren were happy to put Mika Hakkinen in his place. It was always presumed that Andretti didn’t do so well in Formula One because of the lack of preparation. Racing in the American IndyCar series, Andretti had become used to simpler machinery, but Formula One in the early-ninties was quite complex, with traction control and active suspension helping to control the cars. This, combined with the fact that Andretti insisted on commuting from America to races and tests meant that he wasn’t given the best of opportunities to prove his worth.
So why is this relevant to today? Because Michael’s son Marco, who is currently racing in IRL IndyCar series, has decided to defend his fathers performance and criticise McLaren to boot. However, before putting his thoughts across to the media in Indiana (Marco is competing in Sunday’s Indy 500), the 21-year-old was sure to point out that he would jump at the chance to race in Formula One, having already tested for Honda on two occasions.
In his attempts to clear his fathers name, Marco stated that McLaren sabotaged the second car in an effort to make Michael Andretti look bad. It is perhaps fair that team mate Ayrton Senna would receive updated parts sooner, the Brazilian’s authority already known from his previous title-winning campaigns. But Marco has said that it went beyond just a difference in development pace.
If you ask me, it was sabotage.
They would make the car do weird things in the corner electronically, stuff out of his control.
And I think my dad’s biggest supporter over there was Ayrton Senna. Because he was one of the few who knew what was really happening in the team, and I think he believed in my father. It was Monza that he really said, ‘Give him my car. Give him exactly what I had.’ Marco Andretti.
When questioned about his son’s comments, Michael didn’t deny his version of events, but also refused to go into any detail about his 1993 season.
Let’s just say it was not a pleasant experience. It was a time where I think I was sort of caught in a political battle of auto racing, and because of that wasn’t a very good experience. Michael Andretti.
It does seem strange though, doesn’t it, that Marco would speak out against a possible future employer and one that he would do very well to want right now? And what is Marco speaking out against? Safety, car design, driver aids…? No, he’s speaking about the past. History. Fifteen-year-old history. That just seems strange to me. And very Scott Speed, if I might add. While I love Americans very much (most of you reading this are from the other side of the pond), Scott, and now Marco are giving Formula One fans in Europe-and-beyond an interesting view of American racers and their attitudes.
I don’t have any other mentality other than to go over there [Europe, F1] and win. Because I think it’s a bigger story if I go over there and fail, really. It really is. Because that’s what people are waiting for, to be honest, over there. Marco Andretti.
Really, Marco? Really…? I know us Brits can seem a bit pessimistic at times, but please understand it is mostly to do with our weather. I promise you, the world spins on its axis and revolves around the sun. Nothing else. I suggest that if you want to succeed in IndyCar and F1, you might want to improve your outlook a little and become a bit more positive. Digging up the past, whether you be right or wrong, only distracts from the main cause – the present.
- Source of article and quotes: IHT – “Marco Andretti wants F1 shot despite McLaren’s ‘sabotage’ of dad’s career”
Photo by Chris Denbow and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.