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Mario Andretti: & # 34; Schumacher will still win & # 34;

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Austin is the first race track specially built for the US GP. Why did it take so long?

A ndretti: It takes one Vision and a lot of courage to tackle such a project. Especially in the current economic environment. First you have to find investors who believe in our sport. There are many traditional circuits in America, but none even comes close to the required standard. I can't say why it took so long. The main thing is that it even happened.

Will Texas be the new home of Formula 1 in the USA?

Andretti: The Formula 1 fan base in the USA knows something about this sport. You will receive this race and this venue with open arms. Austin will give the Grand Prix a home for a longer period of time.

Will a Grand Prix in the USA motivate talents in the USA to concentrate on a Formula 1 career ?

Andretti: The USA is the only country in the world where young drivers can choose between Formula 1, IndyCar and Nascar has. You don't mess yourself in vain. There's always something left over. There are many young drivers in the US who dream of Formula 1. There is also talent. You would only need a few sponsors to seriously advance your career and then place you on a top team. The best example is Sergio Perez, who is assisted by Carlos Slim. He has a fair chance to show his talent. It doesn't make sense to just ride. The whole thing only works if an American has a chance to win. Maybe Formula 1 will have to rethink it and allow a third car for such cases. I was so lucky. Lotus and Ferrari offered me their third car. An American in Formula 1 would be good for Formula 1 and for America.

Why is there no more Andretti in Formula 1?

Andretti: I was hoping that my grandson Marco would turn to Formula 1. He would be better off there than in the IndyCar series. But he has to want it too. It's not too late yet. He has enough experience. I wish he had in youngYears ago. But it was just too comfortable for him to ride on his father's team. Sometimes I wish my son Michael didn't have a racing team. Perhaps there is still a way to prove his talent.

Could he be at the start in Austin?

Andretti: That is a daring dream. There's no point in rushing to throw it in there. Something like that has to be prepared methodically. The good thing today is that you could have him practice in the simulator. And I tell them: He's very good in the simulator.

Why is Formula 1 in this country so difficult?

Andretti: We have no stability. Sometimes there was Long Beach, sometimes Phoenix, sometimes Dallas. Nothing that could be associated with Formula 1. If I want to bring the topic of Formula 1 into people's heads, I have to offer them something that is recognizable. Austin will manage this task.

How important is it in which state the Grand Prix takes place?

Andretti: If it's a good thing, it doesn't matter. Texas will be a good host. Austin has a lot to offer as a city. Easy to get to Texas, other states, South and North America. Austin is strategically located better than many other locations.

You have already visited the track. What does the course remind you of?

Andretti: Hermann Tilke wanted to incorporate some elements from other routes. It's a mix of Silverstone and Hockenheim. But in the end every track has to have its own character. Austin has it. Extreme elevation changes. Good opportunities to overtake. That is better than the artificial overtaking aids. In Austin you can overtake in three places. My favorite is curve 1.


Andretti: It goes beastly uphill, then follows a hard braking maneuver and the home straight leads blindly into a left curve.

How do you like Formula 1 as a spectator?

Andretti: I love her. Formula 1 is currently experiencing its prime. The technology factor is still there. The teams are still independent. The rules are made so that many different cars come to almost the same result. From my point of view, I can only say: Don't do anything anymore. Leave Formula 1 as it is. The product is fantastic. Everyone dreams of such a season. We're sitting here in Montreal four hours before the start. Without knowing the result, I would say that none were the firstThree will bet as they are on the podium this afternoon. A few years ago I would have won any run-in bet.

How high is the driver quality?

Andretti: How many world champions are there? Six. Have there ever been so many? And there are so many interesting aspects. There is Michael with his comeback. We all want to see him win again. Probably more than he'd like to himself. Then Kimi. It drives as if it had never been away. I like this grosjean too. Because he got a second chance and now uses it with both hands. And of course Vettel. I think it's great how he has made it into the absolute top class in recent years.

You competed successfully in IndyCar races until you were 54 years old. How long can Michael Schumacher go on?

Andretti: I contested my last big race at Le Mans at the age of 60. Michael and me, it's hard to compare. When I was over 40, I won an IndyCar championship and another 18 IndyCar races. It depends on everyone. Physically, Michael is on par with a 22-year-old. He can do it. I say: Michael will win another Grand Prix this year. He can't let the series of breakdowns frustrate him now. Every racing driver has experienced this before. You have to go through that. I am happy that he is going with me. He belongs in this scene.

If you look at the new course from Austin, then it is an avenue compared to the beaten track from your past. What do you think of that?

Andretti: I think that's great. If we made a mistake, the race was over. Today you get a second chance because the run-off zones are so large that they forgive small mistakes. It's unbelievable how many cars cross the finish line today. Sometimes I wish I was born 30 years later. Today everyone has a real chance to see the checkered flag. In my day it was like Russian roulette. There was a 40 percent chance of reaching the finish line.

Jacques Villeneuve claims that if you are more certain, you will lose respect between the drivers. Is he right?

Andretti: As a driver, you always go to the limit. If the limit allows you more freedom, then use it. It has nothing to do with respect or disrespect. It's the same with cars. As long as our only life insurance was a roll bar that was way too small, you took good care of yourself. When you're in a tank, you're pushing your limits. If you don't do that, you lose.

WillWould a second Grand Prix in New Jersey be competition for Austin?

Andretti: No competition, but an addition. Better two Grand Prix than none at all.


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