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Interview with Mario Andretti: & # 34; Please don't reinvent the wheel & # 34;

Interview with Mario Andretti
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Is Formula 1 so bad how it's done?

A ndretti: Formula 1 is a great product. It keeps its integrity because it sticks to technology. That is their trademark. This is why the fans love Formula 1. Motorsport is expensive and sometimes it goes overboard. That's why you have to adjust the sport every now and then. I say adapt, don't do everything differently just for the sake of changing. No racing series is perfect. There is no magic key. But please don't try to reinvent the wheel. That would be the worst thing you could do.

Does the same apply to IndyCar?

Andretti: Here you made exactly this mistake. Cheated on, denied their roots and introduced things that don't fit the series. This is my personal fight with the IndyCar management. They don't know the product because they come from another world. How can a racing series end at the end of August? Formula 1 runs until the end of November. For the IndyCar fans, there is a huge hole in the winter where nobody talks about the series. Crazy.

IndyCar argues that this will avoid the American football season.

Andretti: Oh my god, what's the point! Are you talking about TV ratings going down? I wouldn't say anything if they were adventurously high in June or July. But they're always in the basement. You always have to compete with other sports.

Can't Formula 1 learn anything from the IndyCars?

Andretti: More like the other way around. I don't see anything that Formula 1 should take over from the IndyCars. Everyone is talking about the dominance of Mercedes, that it is ruining the sport. I think that's exactly what produces great stories. Now everyone is staring at Ferrari to see if they can close the gap. The Grand Prix in Hungary and Singapore have shown that Mercedes can no longer afford the slightest mistake. Ferrari and Vettel are such a strong combination that they benefit from every mistake at Mercedes. As a fan, I love that.

In the USA they slow down teams that are too successful. Is that the better system?

Andretti: The problemat the IndyCars it is completely different. Once they had decided to drive with standard cars, a return to old conditions was practically impossible. Because the series became uninteresting for the sponsors. The manufacturers have run away. Now nobody has the money to build their own cars. Ford, Chevrolet and Chrysler would have to get involved in this for something to happen. But that's utopia.

Wasn't the aero kit a step in the right direction?

Andretti: In principle, yes. But it was wrongly introduced. They just left it to Honda and Chevrolet. That split the field in half. Like a tire competition. We know what that means. Every weekend someone has the wrong tire. Or the wrong aero kit. You can stay at home right away. This mistake shouldn't have happened, even if it leveled off a bit in the second half of the season. At the beginning, Chevrolet had to be considered.

How would it have been better?

Andretti: The original idea was good. Each team should be allowed to build their aero kit under certain restrictions. But nobody should have kept the package exclusively for themselves. If you had noticed that Penske, for example, had the best kit, then everyone else could have bought it for a fixed price of say 75,000 dollars and improved it again. Firstly, that would have prevented one of the teams from earning ridiculous sums of money in aerodynamics development because they would then have had to offer it at a loss. And it wouldn't have split the field into two factions. This concept would have meant competition among all teams.

Have the aero kits in the oval become a problem? There were many accidents this year without warning?

Andretti: I disagree. Serge Karam, for example, hit the inner track in Pocono. He doesn't have to be surprised when he takes off. The same accident happened to me once. I wanted to overtake my son Michael inside, he had overlooked me and I hit the concrete strip. The smallest mistake is punished on the Superspeedways. The speed multiplies the consequences. This is what the less experienced pilots have to learn. Respect the ovals because they bite back. Old veteran rule.

Justin Wilson died after being hit in the head by rubble. Do monopostos need cockpit protection?

Andretti: It was just as much a chain of highly unfortunate circumstances as with Massa. Wilson was the seventh or eighth driver to pass Karam's wreckage, and his nose was still dancing in the road. Something like that happens oncein 100 years. You cannot protect yourself against that. Should you close the cockpits? The current drivers have to decide that. But you have to think twice. It could create other problems. And motorsport will never be 100 percent safe. Perhaps we should attach the nose to the chassis from the inside with a rope. And a quick-release fastener for swapping noses during a pit stop.

One problem in Formula 1 is the financial imbalance. Doesn't the IndyCar series take better care of the small teams?

Andretti: The problem starts with everyone being in Formula 1 builds own car. That's why there is a Mercedes and a Manor, and the Manor knows full well that it will never win. It's different with the IndyCars. Dale Coyne's team can also win. But the price is that the IndyCars almost all look the same. It would be wrong to take away the technology aspect from Formula 1 for this reason. She needs that as a figurehead. So maybe she should try to somehow get the costs under control. In America, people are more likely to live with a brand formula. Because, unfortunately, they were brought up that way over the years.

What about the drivers? Andretti: Not so bad. IndyCar has some very good young drivers, and the old ones are still fast enough to keep up with them. A good mix, I would say. In Formula 1, the drivers are remote-controlled. Is that good?

Andretti: That's easy to solve. Get rid of telemetry. Or forbid the funk. That's what I like about MotoGP. That guy up there on the motorcycle is on his own. When the flag falls, he has to tame the beast, without help from the pit wall, without pit stops. Pure racing like in the past. Someone has to put up a stop sign here. The curse is the range of technology that is available. If you allow everything, it will be used. When the team knows everything about the car, they will tell the driver how to best drive their car. The drivers would be in favor of regaining control of their car. I mean, that's ridiculous. If the braking force distribution or the tire temperature is wrong, the driver must feel it himself. He doesn't need a nanny for that.

So Formula 1 has to change something here?

Andretti: Of course. Away with all that stuff that makes driving easier or where the driver needs outside help. Why don't any of us want traction control? Because the driver has to be traction control. The less comfort for theDriver, all the better.

Is overtaking easier at the IndyCars?

Andretti: Yes. That's because of the concept. The flat underbody in Formula 1 gives too much importance to the wings and diffuser. They can be disturbed more easily. The IndyCars have two tunnels under the car. That makes the cars more good-natured in turbulence. But it's still not easy. All drivers say that their car has been more difficult to drive in traffic since the aero kits came on the car.

What do you think of DRS or Push-to Pass?

Andretti: I'm for it. At the speeds and the short braking distances it becomes more and more difficult to overtake. You have to give the drivers a little help. You must also plan your overtaking maneuvers with these aids. You may only use DRS in certain places. Push to pass is only available 10 or 15 times in the race. In my time there were many more start and finish wins. And often with a lead of half a minute or more. And you need overtaking maneuvers today. In our time, people were happy when they saw a racing car on the racetrack. That was enough. A few cars passed by on the old Nordschleife every nine minutes. In between you drank a beer and waited. Unthinkable today. Today people want to see action every minute. But one thing has to be explained to the spectators: you cannot expect every race to go down in history. It is in the nature of sport that there are boring and exciting races.

The double point rule has made Scott Dixon the champion. Juan Pablo Montoya thinks this is unfair. And you?

Andretti: Everyone is happy, except Montoya. The second, third or fourth is happy about the chance that the points system offers. You can call it slapstick, but that way the tension stays up until the end. Nobody talked about Dixon before the final. It was all about Montoya versus Rahal. Seen in this light, the title decision was a huge surprise. Montoya and Rahal lost because they were involved in accidents. Dixon drove a fabulous race. For me he is the best in the field, fast everywhere, incredibly thoughtful, incredibly constant. He has been at the forefront for over a decade. He is a deserved champion.

Formula 1 is increasingly being used on race tracks that are ultra-modern but unspectacular. Doesn't it make IndyCar better to bet on traditional races?

Andretti: I like the opulence of the Formula 1 tracks. Compared to here, this is the Taj Mahal. Motorsport is a show. I have nothing against Mid Ohio. But the route needs a better oneInfrastructure. The Taj Mahal in Formula 1 means investing in sport. And that's good.

The Indy500 and the GP Monaco are the two highlights. Which one was better for you?

Andretti: Every sport needs a highlight. It's always nice when you can look forward to something. Both routes have one thing in common: tradition. What makes Indy so special? Its 100 year history. It's not the best track, and maybe not the best race either. But it's Indy. With his list of winners. It is your own yardstick with which you measure yourself as a driver. Monte Carlo is similar. The route is unique and has hardly changed. It doesn't work either. Otherwise you would have to move the casino. And it's the glamor that surrounds this race. Singapore may be better, but it never comes close to Monte Carlo. What do we learn from this: Maintain tradition. Don't change anything about these races. You're only destroying the myth.

In 2017, Formula 1 wants more aggressive cars with a different look. Do you think that's good?

Andretti: Yes, why not. That doesn't take anything away from her. The teams build new cars every year anyway. I think Formula 1 should become a bit more modern in some areas. For example with 18 inch tires. No road car in the world drives balloon tires like Formula 1. But I think the IndyCars need a facelift much more. So that they look better.


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