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Michael Andretti: "Ron Dennis and Bernie Ecclestone conspired to make me look bad"


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#51 One

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:11

Saw some interesting quotes.
American talks Europe is a shark pool,which is the other way round when business men talks about NYC scene.

Saw some mroe quotes, but indeed what Fittipaldi says is interesting...

You can take Andretti and Unser's unhappy memories of Formula One as sour grapes, but Emerson Fittipaldi's words of advice to Unser add some valuable perspective to F1's hard edge. Emerson provided some further observations about F1 in 'The Art of Motor Racing', a book I co-authored with him many years ago.

"In Formula One," Fittipaldi wrote, "they are ready to destroy a guy as soon as he makes one mistake. If you make it in the door to F1 you must be prepared for this aspect. Formula One is a very hard-headed form of motor racing. The American mentality is different and it's one of the reasons I enjoyed Indy car racing so much. In F1 they are always looking at who is going to replace this guy or that guy next year. If a young guy is off the pace, for whatever reasons, they will soon be saying something is wrong with his mind, that he can't do it anymore.

"There is a lot of bull like that in Formula One. There is a lot of talking behind peoples' backs. It takes the smallest thing and they will start calling somebody a wanker. They'll say that somebody else is too old, too set in his ways to do it any more. If you are not hard-headed enough in Formula One, they will destroy you very quickly."

Believe what you will, but any young driver--American or otherwise--and their sponsors or patrons should pay heed to these lessons in how F1 works. It's an extremely tough, hard-edged world, as any young American who tries to break into F1 and the promoters at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin and Weehawken in New Jersey are sure to learn.


Anyways Michael made it to top steps many more times and when he speaks, he is doing his politics for sure. Open Wheel series in US now fears that Formula One will end their series, quite understandable...

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#52 David1976

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:29

Sounds like sour grapes. F1 is a huge stain on Michael Andretti's career and he's trying to satisfy himself that he was better than he actually was.

Reminds me of Joss complaining about Schumacher having an unfair advantage.



#53 Peat

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:44

I do not understand why a top team would sabotage their own car when millions are at stake


There were indeed millions at stake. CART was developing into a global brand and had plans to go to more tracks outside of the Americas. Had more people got to see something that, at the time, was a fundamentally 'better' product, F1's future could have been compromised.

I don't think Michael made the most of the opportunity and perhaps his rough-diamond talent wasn't ideally suited to that generation of cars, but i certainly wouldn't discount foul play. There is so much that goes on that we don't know about in F1. I am regularly shocked by stories of 'Well, you know why that was, don't you?' from people i know who have worked at the coal-face. The product put on the shelf for us to look at is very carefully manipulated.

Edited by Peat, 14 November 2012 - 10:20.


#54 topical

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:12

I didn't think Americans used the word "wanker".

Edited by topical, 14 November 2012 - 10:13.


#55 Woody3says

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:21

I didn't think Americans used the word "wanker".

That was a quote of Emmo.....

#56 Tsarwash

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:26

I didn't think Americans used the word "wanker".

Well then Fittipaldi must have learned something from his time in Europe then. :)


#57 KnucklesAgain

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:28

That is irrelevant. If my wife and kids and family are on the other side of the planet why would I want to unsettle them by moving them away from their existing lives, schools, friends etc so I can concentrate on my career?

How often have you seen Schumacher's family or missus at race tracks? You hardly see her.


You could act like a grown-up and realize that you can't have your cake and eat it too. If you want to be with your family all the time - fine, but probably you won't make it in F1. You want to make it in racing (or any sport or business, really), you may not have much time for a family (so maybe don't get one?)



#58 H2H

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:40

You could act like a grown-up and realize that you can't have your cake and eat it too. If you want to be with your family all the time - fine, but probably you won't make it in F1. You want to make it in racing (or any sport or business, really), you may not have much time for a family (so maybe don't get one?)


Agreed. As a family man myself I understand his approach but it should have been all too clear that this decision put him at a big disadvantage in quite a few areas. There is no free lunch in this sense.

#59 engel

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:43

When Mansell did Indycars he moved to Clearwater, he didn't try to do Indycars from Exeter, makes no sense for Andretti to try and do F1 from Nazareth ... especially with the amount of testing they did (and he missed) back then

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#60 Watkins74

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:54

When Mansell did Indycars he moved to Clearwater, he didn't try to do Indycars from Exeter, makes no sense for Andretti to try and do F1 from Nazareth ... especially with the amount of testing they did (and he missed) back then

I agree. However I am drawing a blank about what Mario did. Did he move to Europe or did he travel back and forth? I can't remember.

Maybe it was one of those "like Father, Like son" deals?

#61 Xpat

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 11:02

My impression of the Andretti's (Marco, Michael, and Mario) is that they are complainers. Noting is ever their fault, it is always someone else.

Maybe my perception is skewed by being in a restaurant as a 10 year old, sitting at a table next to Mario's table, and hearing him complain through the entire meal.

I think Michael should have gotten more of a chance than he did but with a driver like Hakkinen in the wings the decision couldn't have been difficult.

#62 matzy

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 13:48

I don't buy it. I am of the opinion that Bernie/Ron would have much preferred Andretti success, so as to bring F1 to a wider market - instead of ruining his chances and cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

#63 Collective

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 13:59

It was a difficult panorama with the Ford engines, Williams domination and Hakkinen waiting for a chance. He made it worse by never showing up at the factory and living in PA. He made it even worse by crashing into Wendlinger every single time he had him on sight.

#64 BoschKurve

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 14:07

Because the IRL had already been formed and was going to start in 1996. It was logical that they (CART & IRL) would both suffer and Bernie knew it.

I have no evidence that Bernie and Tony George ever spoke, but it wouldn't suprise me if he encouraged TG's delusional fantasia.


Tony and Bernie were talking as early as 1990-1991 if I recall.

I do think Bernie being who he is probably put some ideas in Tony's head. Then Tony managed to destroy open-wheel racing in America a few years later.

#65 AlexS

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 14:40

I do not understand why a top team would sabotage their own car when millions are at stake


Yeah but that depends if there was any other compensation under the table. For this story to have any legs then it needs to be investigated any Mclaren deals with Bernie, and also on how Andretti ended there in first place.
Yeah maybe Senna was being benefited by the team, something i am sure will no surprise anyone, maybe the Andretti car was a test bed, but more than that?

#66 Paste

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 14:56

I was, without any hyperbole, one of the biggest Michael Andretti fans in the world. When I started following car racing in 1989, he was my guy. When he went to F1, I thought he'd be awesome, but it was quite clear that he just wasn't committed enough to make it work, especially alongside a driver of Senna's caliber. Came back to CART, and ran up front straight away. However, he was never going to succeed in F1 without moving to Europe and dedicating himself fully. If any part of this is true, I would think that Ron Dennis may have wanted him out, but likely not until after he realized Michael wasn't as committed as he should've been.

#67 johnmhinds

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 15:01

Sounds like poor excuses, and ones that can't be verified at that.

#68 halbvoll

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 15:03

My impression of the Andretti's (Marco, Michael, and Mario) is that they are complainers. Noting is ever their fault, it is always someone else.


Their Italian roots ?


#69 Dolph

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 15:25

Why did it take almost twenty years to be revealed?


It didn't. Michael has said it before. Marco also.

#70 engel

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 15:31

It didn't. Michael has said it before. Marco also.


yeah but like I said before the angle, as far as I recall, was different. It wasn't a Bernie/Ron conspiracy to harm Indycar, it was Ron not wanting to pay Andretti and wanting to put Mika in the car for less money

#71 maximilian

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 15:35

What a wanker.

#72 Slowinfastout

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 15:41

The funny aspect is the guy must overestimate the capital of credibility he has by an outrageous margin to say these things and hope they will be taken seriously..

One way or the other it inspire pity for poor Michael though..

Edited by Slowinfastout, 14 November 2012 - 15:41.


#73 John B

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 16:01

Surprising that one incident that might best make his case - a dead battery on the grid in Montreal (the one circuit he had experience on) that made him start last, then he had some fast times in the race - wasn't mentioned. I vaguely remember a race report mentioning that it was 'almost inconceivable' for any team in F1.

Wonder in the months beforehand if he was counting on Senna being a teammate - things were pretty unsettled through that entire silly and off season. Against someone else = more time for a learning curve and less pressing. Adding to this were wet races and Monaco that Senna was able to translate into multiple early wins.

#74 maverick69

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 16:07

That's some serious stuff to come out with.

I'll guess we'll see if it's defamatory sooner rather than later....... or just swept under the carpet  ;)

#75 Rasputin

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 16:17

The way I remember the 1993 season, Andretti lacked commitment, Concording to Nazareth while Senna did all the testing with Hakkinen, that's no way to get the team behind you.

Besides, his physical shape made Montoya look fit.

No doubt Ron regretted hiring him as the season wore on, he also needed to brake in a new team leader for 1994 as he knew Senna was leaving, but sabotaging his own car, come on?

Edited by Rasputin, 14 November 2012 - 16:18.


#76 H2H

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 16:36

Their Italian roots ?


O dear :rolleyes:

Edited by H2H, 14 November 2012 - 16:36.


#77 ensign14

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 16:37

Surprising that one incident that might best make his case - a dead battery on the grid in Montreal (the one circuit he had experience on) that made him start last, then he had some fast times in the race - wasn't mentioned. I vaguely remember a race report mentioning that it was 'almost inconceivable' for any team in F1.

Wasn't entirely inconceivable - I remember Brundle losing a certain podium at Monaco for Brabham a couple of years before by having to pit to have a dead one changed.

#78 aportinga

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 17:17

Utter rubbish, I remember 1993 vividly.

Andretti was abysmal, Ayrton said to Jo Ramirez 'He never takes the same line into a corner' staggered by how inept he was.


I think he did nothing to help himself not look like an ass but I do believe there was collusion on the part of F1 to discredit CART by using Andretti, Mansell, Zanardi and possibly even Villnueve and Montoya.

Something was going on. I mean why was it always Wendlinger and Andretti crashing all the time as well?

#79 aportinga

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 17:20

Andretti doing bad and Mansell doing well was in the same year so from that stand point it makes sense....




...Yet that's an interesting point. Bernie helped in trying to get JV into F1, encouraging Frank to take him on. If he did do the dirty on Andretti, would he be so confident at the end of 95 that Indycar/Champcar was no longer a threat?


Okay but if we consider that France and BE were part of getting TG to create the IRL then why would BE want a BIG name like Villenueve helping to validate the IRL?

Also JV was not spectacular in F1 IMO. MS has a shit car and did pretty well against the Williams.

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#80 aportinga

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 17:23

Mate, that's proper tin foil hat stuff. That really is. So Ron Dennis deliberately sabotaged one of his drivers chances, just to help Bernie show that Cart was worse then F1 ?


No as far as I can recall BE was considering allowing teams to run a 3rd car and strung RD on until RD said to hell with it - as the strory from MA implies.

#81 aportinga

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 17:25

It really doesn't add up. Andretti was usually 1.4s slower than Ayrton in qualifying. In Spain he was 1.6s behind and in France (the race that someone supposedly shut his beacon off in qualifying) he was the usual 1.4s slower. Taking in account that he was only a rookie it's not really that bad. Prost that was Prost was usually 0.7s slower...


That is the part of MA's story I think is shit as well.

He had little experience in the car and thusly would have been off pace.

In fact I nearly spit coffee on my laptop when I read the original story - specifically the part where he said he was so close to Senna.

Give me a break - what was he pushing 200 pounds back then? No experience in the car, on the tracks??? He must think the people reading that are morons.

#82 917k

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 17:27

I think he did nothing to help himself not look like an ass but I do believe there was collusion on the part of F1 to discredit CART by using Andretti, Mansell, Zanardi and possibly even Villnueve and Montoya.

Something was going on. I mean why was it always Wendlinger and Andretti crashing all the time as well?



I thought you had died, good to see you back.......even if I completely disagree with this nutty conspiracy theory. Glad to see most here do too.

#83 BoschKurve

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 20:09

There was no need by F1 to discredit CART if you ask me.

Bernie just whispered what was needed to jump start Tony George's delusions of grandeur, and Tony did the rest free of any interference by F1.

#84 whitewaterMkII

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 20:11

I still have no idea why Michael even went to F1 to begin with. And while it obviously still bugs him that he did poorly there, he should be man enough by now to look in the mirror and determine that it was his fault he didn't do well.
IMO, MA didn't commit to anywhere near the level needed to race in F1 and when Ron saw that he was more than right to show him the door.
Michael should be thankful that he was able to go back to CART and succeed, the vast majority of F1 drivers that were shown the door for lack of performance or had the lack of commitment that Michael showed didn't have a fallback.
All the conspiracy theories aside, there is no doubt that CART was giving BE something to worry about, it was a damn good series in those years, and was definitely looking to expand it's horizons.
BE should leave a kicker in his will when he goes to his maker as a thank you to FTG, who was determined and succeeded to FU USOW for decades and give over the top level of OW racing to BE lock, stock and barrel once and for all...

#85 Juan Kerr

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 20:15

It's not only Schumacher/Benetton that are involved in this kind of ex drivers making controvertial claims about the teams and etc.




http://www.gordonkir...t_is_no361.html


:eek:

Yeah Bernie and Ron Dennis conspired to make me crash into every thing on earth that moved! It was all their fault!!

#86 Rikhart

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 20:16

All I remember from this guy was he spun out of every other race in the first or second lap, he really was that bad. Is he really comparing himself to Mika Hakkinen? Nutter.

#87 John B

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 22:45

It was certainly part of one of the stranger silly/off seasons of all time - not often you see all four seats change at two dominant teams as Williams and McLaren were back then.

Edited by John B, 14 November 2012 - 22:46.


#88 Zippel

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 23:29

I think he did nothing to help himself not look like an ass but I do believe there was collusion on the part of F1 to discredit CART by using Andretti, Mansell, Zanardi and possibly even Villnueve and Montoya.

Something was going on. I mean why was it always Wendlinger and Andretti crashing all the time as well?


Frank loved Zanardi and thought he'd struck gold when he signed him for two years. There's no way he was going to sabotage him. He just didn't suit the car.

#89 j madra

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 00:16

The way I remember the 1993 season, Andretti lacked commitment, Concording to Nazareth while Senna did all the testing with Hakkinen, that's no way to get the team behind you.

Besides, his physical shape made Montoya look fit.

No doubt Ron regretted hiring him as the season wore on, he also needed to brake in a new team leader for 1994 as he knew Senna was leaving, but sabotaging his own car, come on?

It's been a long time, but if I recall correctly...Andretti wasn't able to test because McLaren was contractually obligated to give all the testing to Senna and Hakkinen. This served as a cautionary tale for Villeneuve who made sure he had a ton of miles in the car prior to the start of the season.

#90 scheivlak

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:00

It's been a long time, but if I recall correctly...Andretti wasn't able to test because McLaren was contractually obligated to give all the testing to Senna and Hakkinen. This served as a cautionary tale for Villeneuve who made sure he had a ton of miles in the car prior to the start of the season.


Not true. Michael was even the first driver to test the 1993 McLaren as he was the only confirmed driver that moment!

from http://www.dlg.speedfreaks.org/archive/1993/janfeb93.html:

15.02.93 - F1
McLaren have confirmed that Ayrton Senna will be in their team for this year's Formula One season. It is still not clear whether the Brazilian will actually compete in the Championship. A final decision is likely to be made after Senna has had a chance to test the new MP4/8, which will debut at the South African GP. Finland's Mika Hakkinen has also been confirmed in the team which already includes Michael Andretti.

16.02.93 - F1
The Marlboro McLaren Ford MP4/8 had its first run at Silverstone on Monday with Michael Andretti at the wheel for the 12 laps. Managing Director Ron Dennis said the American could compare the handling of the car with the MP4/7B that he used to drive. The car will make its race debut at the South African GP at Kyalami.

and from http://www.dlg.speedfreaks.org/archive/1993/march93.html

05.03.93
F1:- Ayrton Senna was delighted with the new McLaren as he posted what is though to be the fastest time of winter testing at Silverstone. He clocked 1 min 20.27 secs and then said: "The car is pretty fast! In my experience, Silverstone is one of the hardest circuits at which to set the car up properly." But the Brazilian is still keeping the team waiting over whether he will drive for them this season. "For sure if I had come here and the car did not work I would not race this year," he said.

mins:secs
1 A Senna Brz McLaren 1:20.27
2 M Andretti US McLaren 1:21.13
3 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:22.05
4 A de Cesaris It Tyrrell 1:25.60
5 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell 1:28.22
6 D Brabham Aus Footwork 1:39.31

Edited by scheivlak, 15 November 2012 - 01:01.


#91 Risil

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:06

"For sure if I had come here and the car did not work I would not race this year," he said.


Those were different times, huh?

#92 aportinga

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:14

Frank loved Zanardi and thought he'd struck gold when he signed him for two years. There's no way he was going to sabotage him. He just didn't suit the car.


Well I did not really say he did. Franky the car was terrible - that and Zanardi's driving style was more suited to CART then an F1 car.

In this instance I think Zanardi and JPM simply stamped out that F1 was above CART in terms of skill required.

It only accentuated the swaps by MA and NM which were just a slap on the test rides of Unser and PT.

In the end no one will ever say that the best driver from CART/CCWS/IRL/ICS can compete with the best of F1. The farm system for those drivers is far greater and that's even more apparent when you look how often these guys dominated in America.



#93 aportinga

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:15

It's been a long time, but if I recall correctly...Andretti wasn't able to test because McLaren was contractually obligated to give all the testing to Senna and Hakkinen. This served as a cautionary tale for Villeneuve who made sure he had a ton of miles in the car prior to the start of the season.


I had heard the JV had ran miles on a simulator to suit himself for tracks.

#94 JacnGille

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:47

So, did Bernie promise to make up the potential lost sponsorship/revenue that McLaren might loose due to Mikey's poor results???

#95 aportinga

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:48

So, did Bernie promise to make up the potential lost sponsorship/revenue that McLaren might loose due to Mikey's poor results???


He crashed at the beginning of half his races... With replays I'd say he probably got far more coverage then Gerhard Berger running behind Senna at McLaren.

Edited by aportinga, 15 November 2012 - 01:49.


#96 DarthWillie

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 05:30

Wasn't testing severely limited that year? With no testing on a track before a race?

#97 Rasputin

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 07:26

As much I loved CART of the early-mid 90s, there's no secret that almost every F1 reject made it there, Fabi, Johansson, Blundell and basically any
brazilian you can think of, while a former top driver from F1 could stay competitive well into their 50s, like Mario Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi.

Michael Andretti's approach to F1 was either ill-advised or outright sloppy on his own part, the statements made now are embarrassingly pathetic.

Al Unser Jr's horse-story about being thrown out from Frank Williams' office by Patrick Head is even worse.

Edited by Rasputin, 15 November 2012 - 07:42.


#98 Peat

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 07:44

I had heard the JV had ran miles on a simulator to suit himself for tracks.


He was using the title 'GP2' on a PC using a keyboard (A,Z,<,>).

Hardly what you'd call a 'simulator' by modern standards. All it would have taught him was vaguely which way the circuits went.


#99 Dolph

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 08:02

He was using the title 'GP2' on a PC using a keyboard (A,Z,<,>).

Hardly what you'd call a 'simulator' by modern standards. All it would have taught him was vaguely which way the circuits went.


vaguely? I'd say it was pretty accurate. Do you think he couldn't afford a wheel and pedals?

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#100 SparkPlug

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 08:21

In the end no one will ever say that the best driver from CART/CCWS/IRL/ICS can compete with the best of F1. The farm system for those drivers is far greater and that's even more apparent when you look how often these guys dominated in America.

I think this is about it. The history of modern F1 in the past 20 or so years is littered with examples of top drivers in American racing series failing to make the cut into F1.

Andretti, Zanardi, Montoya (the best of the lot apart from JV), and more recently the likes of Bourdais have proved beyond doubt that

a) The skillset required for F1 is completely different from what is required for F1

OR
b) The amount of skill required to succeed in F1 is higher compared to American racing series

Take your pick. I think it could be a combination of the two factors. I dont beleive Andretti's comments one bit. He was up against the then best driver in F1 and was poor in comparison.