Third-generation IndyCar racer Marco Andretti hopes that returning for a second spell at Rob Wilson’s renowned driving school will help him rediscover his best form.
Andretti, who races for the Andretti Herta Autosport team run by his father, Michael, scored a best finish of sixth as he finished 16th in the standings last season, which he labelled the “worst year in my career”.
It was accentuated by finishing five laps down in the Indianapolis 500, an event he came close to winning as a rookie in 2006, on the 50th anniversary of grandfather Mario’s victory in 1969.
Andretti admits that his qualifying form has undermined his bid to end a winless drought stretching back to Iowa 2011 (pictured below).
He is hoping that another visit to Bruntingthorpe to work with 1990 Barber Pro Series champion Wilson, combined with the return of engineer Garrett Mothersead – who engineered him to place fifth in the 2013 standings – after a spell working with Mark Bryant will trigger a turnaround in fortunes.
“Being critical of myself, qualifying has killed me,” Andretti admitted.
“Because it’s a big track-position dependent sport so you can’t start at the back and have a magnificent race unless there’s rain and a lot of yellows.
“My racecraft is pretty good and we go forward more often than not, but we have to start ahead of the eight-ball.
“Garrett was there in 2013 and we did a lot of things that year which we’re going to try to do this year.
“We’re trying to wring everything out and I’m going back to Europe [to Wilson’s driving school] before the season starts.”
Andretti said that he’d enjoyed working with Wilson because a road car “exaggerates your inputs so much”.
“It really makes it obvious what you’re doing with your footwork and with how quick your hands are,” Andretti explained.
“For me, it’s a lot about slowing down to go fast, which for a driver is a little bit counter[-intuitive].
“It exaggerates your inputs and it’s very easy to overdrive those types of car, so if you can bring yourself into that realm, there are ways you can find grip from a car, rather than go right over the tyre which I have been doing in IndyCar a lot.
“You can look and say I just need to drive harder, but a lot of the time it’s just the opposite!”
Andretti, who hasn’t scored a podium since Fontana in 2015, added that he had “requested it from the team” as an opportunity to maximise his chances of silverware.
“Mindset-wise, I’m not hiding from the fact that I’m up against it and we need to perform right now, and need some trophies.
“I want to exhaust everything I can do as a driver not just physically. It’s such a long off-season, longer than usual because of parts availability [aeroscreen] meaning testing got delayed.
“And I can’t just run on the treadmill – I’d go crazy – so I’m doing everything in my power to maximise this year.
“It’s a very important year for me.”
Published at Tue, 11 Feb 2020 13:53:34 +0000
Ferrari will kick off launch season proper for Formula 1 in 2020 when it unveils its new car in Italy later on Tuesday.
While there has already been a glimpse of the 2020 grid following Haas’s digital reveal last Thursday, and Mercedes’ livery launch, Ferrari will be the first team to present its car in the flesh, starting a busy period of car launches before pre-season testing.
Ferrari has released audio of its fire-up, and will unveil its 2020 car in a special event at the Romolo Valli Municipal Theatre in Reggio Emilia on Tuesday evening – an event you can watch live here on Autosport fom 5.30pm UK time.
Following the Ferrari launch, both Red Bull and Renault will hold events on Wednesday February 12.
Red Bull will release digital images of its new RB16 car in the morning ahead of a shakedown at Silverstone later that day, while Renault is hosting a ‘season launch’ event in Paris on the same evening.
McLaren will reveal the new MCL34 car at its Woking base on February 13 before both Mercedes and the rebranded AlphaTauri squad present their new cars on February 14.
In line with previous years, Mercedes is completing a shakedown at Silverstone to unveil the new W11 car, with images and videos set to be released across its digital channels.
AlphaTauri will complete its transition from Toro Rosso with an event at the Red Bull-owned Hangar-7 in Salzburg on the same evening.
Racing Point is also set to stage its launch event in Austria, kicking off its season on February 17 at the Mondsee base of its principal sponsor, BWT.
This comes on the same day Williams will complete a digital launch of its new FW43 car.
The final physical launches are planned on the opening day of pre-season testing in Barcelona on February 19 when both Haas and Alfa Romeo will present their cars in the pitlane before the start of on-track running at 9am local time.
Teams will then have six days’ worth of testing at Barcelona, taking place from February 19-21 and February 26-28 before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 15.
F1 2020 launch events
February 11 – Ferrari launch
February 12 – Red Bull launch
February 12 – Renault launch
February 13 – McLaren launch
February 14 – AlphaTauri launch
February 14 – Mercedes launch
February 17 – Racing Point launch
February 17 – Williams launch
February 19 – Haas launch
February 19 – Alfa Romeo launch
Published at Tue, 11 Feb 2020 13:04:42 +0000