Andretti VS Peterson, the real story?
Posted 16 December 2001 - 11:12
Here is a quote:
"If those had been explicit orders, from Colin, either off the record or on the record, it would have come out. Colin never ever told Ronnie, 'Hold back, don't pass', He never wrote that ona pit board, which was the only way to commuincate then because we had no radios".
"I constantly beat him (Peterson) on the track and that was very important to me. I promise you, Ronnie tried very hard to pass me on many occasions, but he was never able to. I didn't allow that. I worked my @ss off not to let that happen to me, because he would have had to le me by at the end, and that would have made me look bad".
What do you think? Was Andretti really quicker than Peterson? He is backed up in the book by Nigiel Robuck who added that Ronnie was "usless" as a test driver. Mario also outqualified Ronnie consistently in the races both had with the Lotus 79.
What do you think?
Posted 16 December 2001 - 12:52
These reports are from swedish magazines so there is a bias-possibility, but my guess is that the situation pretty much resembles the Rubens-Michael scenario at Ferrari today.
Posted 16 December 2001 - 13:14
with lots of fuel and used tyres...
Can any one confirm that?
If it's correct... what have Mario Andretti to say about this?!
I am not saying that Ronnie was better than Mario but... wasn't Mario
having a better support from the team?
I don't have enough information, but didn't they, at Lotus, agree that the
championship MUST be for Mario that year and the following year for Peterson?!
Many doubts... but I'm sure that there are in this forum lots of people
that can help to find the correct answers...
The following year, with Carlos Reutemann in the team, Mario was many
times slower than Reutemann in practice... No motivation?
No, for me it's difficult to believe than Ronnie, with 9 poles in 1973, was not so
fast as Mario...
Posted 16 December 2001 - 13:16
talent. Mario was a developer and a hard worker. I agree the truth was somewhere inbetween. The 79 was the product of Mario's hard work, I'd love
to know how much seat time he had in that car while they were developing it?
Secondly, the 79 suited Mario's driving style much more so than Ronnie's.
Remember what Parker Johnstone said about ground effects, alter its attitude by more than 13degrees and you can loose 70% of your downforce.
Ronnie threw his cars around like go karts, Mario was way smooth, way
smooth which is the route with ground effects.
Posted 16 December 2001 - 13:58
Yes, I believe it was at Brands Hatch in 1978 that Peterson supposedly "got screwed" in ualifying by Chapman. I have a race report from the swedish magazine "Teknikens Värld" that mentions a heavier fuel load and used tyres, I'll try to dig it up and post a translated version in the next few days.
Posted 16 December 2001 - 16:15
Originally posted by Rediscoveryx
I think the truth probably lies somewhere in between the two versions. Most of the contemporary reports that I have read have stated that Ronnie had some problems with the team, that Colin sent him out with more fuel than Mario on qualifying runs, and that he had to qualify on used tires and stuff like that.
Why on earth would a team one of their drivers like that? I can understand the stronger driving having better equipment because there isn't enough to go around or because the driver is leaving and shouldn't have access to sensitive projects but a team deliberately handicapping one of its drivers sounds extremely unlikely and astoundingly stupid.
Posted 16 December 2001 - 17:02
Posted 16 December 2001 - 19:32
they end the year with a win in Japan. Before that they had good
perfomances in many races, like Sweden, and Mario was there to
give the help they need to make the evolution of that car...
Ronnie goes out of the team in the begining of that season... the car
was not giving any chances. He lost already all the 1975 season for
nothing... so, in these conditions, coming back in 78 when Mario have done
all the job, sounds unfair giving him equal chances to fight for the
championship, but doing that kind of penalties sounds too not fair for
what Ronnie have done in the past for the team. In 1974 what will be
the year for Lotus without him?
Thanks for your information. Maybe more people will know more hiden
histories about the relation between Lotus - Mario - Peterson...
Posted 16 December 2001 - 22:43
Posted 16 December 2001 - 22:54
I am sure that Ronnie would have been faster than Mario if the tyres had been optimised for him, even though it's true that Mario often or usually did qualify faster. Just as I'm sure that Rosberg would have been faster than Prost in the McLaren team if the car had been set up to suit his more flamboyant style
PS I think this is my first post for about a year!!
Posted 16 December 2001 - 23:26
Maybe it was just the case that he couldn't do it on the soft tyres, and the harder compounds worked better (like todays), when peeled off a bit. Even today some commentators are 'astounded' when pit-crew puts on such tyres on the cars during the race, because most drivers nowdays like to drive a lap or two on them prior to the race, just to get the greasy top layer off and see if they 'blister' (apparently they start 'blistering' during first lap or two, if they'll 'blister' at all)...
Posted 17 December 2001 - 04:29
Originally posted by William Hunt
In the biography of Niki Lauda is written that Niki considered Ronnie as a very bad development driver with not much technical know how. Niki claims that after driving for March, a team where Ronnie also drove.
I have read somewhere that James Hunt's success at McLaren was seated in Fittipaldi's sorting of the M23 the year before he went there. Fittipaldi was also driving alongside Peterson at Lotus so he wouldn't have been counted on there to keep the cars competitive.;) It seams that the facts indicate that poor Ronnie was more a seat of the pants man who just drove what he had rather than sort its deficiencies.
Posted 17 December 2001 - 07:43
The short story is that Ronnie's career went off the rails after poor team choices (March and Tyrrell)... Andretti did much to right the Lotus ship and things were looking promising. Ronnie wanted to give his career a boost, and in 1977 Lotus almost won the title. But he was not in a good bargining position, as he was number 1 driving material and Chapman had a #1 in Andretti. So he gave his word...
Peterson sounded like a terrible development driver. Colin would make some pretty big changes and he couldn't tell the difference... drove Colin nuts apparently...
Towards the end of the year, Andretti was getting nervous. Peterson was only 9 points behind. But in an interview to Roebuck, Peterson said how could he go back on his word? No other team could ever trust him...
Was Peterson faster than Andretti? Maybe... but he wasn't as mechanically adept as Andretti. Without his teammate, chances are he never could have been that fast...
Maybe Andretti was nervous...
Posted 17 December 2001 - 07:59
CC wanted Andretti as Champion to boost Lotus sales in the US.
Now I must read it in detail..............
Posted 17 December 2001 - 08:19
Beside his F1 championship in 1961, Hill won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times (1958, 1961, 1962). the Sebring 12 Hours three times (1958, 1961,1969) and the Nurburgring 1000KM twice (1962, 1966). Anyone who does so is one hell of a driver. Mario is a Four-time Indy Car Champion (1965,1966,1969,1984), Formula One World Champion (1978), Daytona 500 winner (1967), Indy 500 winner (1969), Three-time 12 Hours of Sebring winner (1967, 1970, 1972), and IROC Champion (1979). Mario's resume speaks for itself.
Posted 17 December 2001 - 08:22
Posted 17 December 2001 - 10:08
My understanding was that Ronnie had signed for McLaren for the 1979 season.
Originally posted by Jorge Felix
didn't they, at Lotus, agree that the championship MUST be for Mario that year and the following year for Peterson?
Maybe Mario & Ronnie got on well, Mario has always given that impression, but in a article about Carlos Reutemann in this month's F1 Racing Colin Chapman paints a slightly different picture:
I can't let Carlos go. I've never had a driver of his calibre and not won a championship with him. I want Carlos to stay until we win that championship. I just can't believe he can be so upset about Mario...I'm also very upset about Mario. This is the second time he's caused disruption in the team. He did it with Ronnie. Now he's doing it with Carlos.
I have read that Andretti did not initially approve of Peterson joining Lotus for the 1978 season because he felt he deserved more than a number two seat. He felt that Ronnie had lost Lotus the championship when he had been alongside Fittipaldi because the wins were split between the two of them.
Peterson stuck to the letter and spirit of his contract and enhanced his reputation as a result. He proved he was quick and could win races while supporting MA's title challenge. My guess is he held back a little knowing that, after poor years with Tyrrell, his F1 career was in the balance and rocking the boat at Lotus would have done little for him.
Posted 17 December 2001 - 11:04
I would never devaluate them, in fact they are amongst my favourite all time drivers. I also like Dan Gurney, Masten Gregory, Carroll Shelby (often forgotten) and Mark Donohue a lot. And Richie Ginther was a first class driver as well. America had more world class drivers in those days than now unfortunatelt.
Although I like bashing Americans from time to time I would never criticise those drivers and I would love to see Bryan Herta in F1 one day. Bryan is underrated a lot , he is very smooth and technically strong, together with Michael Andretti he is currently the most talented American.
Posted 17 December 2001 - 11:07
Posted 17 December 2001 - 12:04
Also, form what has been said regarding sideways driving and it's effects on downforce you'd think Ronnie would have been further behind next year as the concept was optimised further.
Does anyone know why Lotus went so far off the boil in 79?
Posted 17 December 2001 - 12:10
Posted 17 December 2001 - 12:19
even when mario became much slower due to a broken exhaust ronnie stayed put even ready to block niki if ness.
no problem there, ronnie not doing the pironi.
imo ronnie was happy to be back on the map.
going to mac was a huge success for ronnie.
mac those days was a big team ( 74/76 wdc ).
the '79 gordon coppock-mac sounded very promissing.
it would make the lotus 79 look old.
in the end watson ( and tambay) got the mac, and boy did it suck.
Posted 17 December 2001 - 16:38
"This is how it happened:
Ronnie had been faster than Mario in fridays qualifying, but early in the saturday session, Mario did a time of 1.17.06. One tenth faster than Ronnies time.
-'Everything is in order now' said Colin Chapman.
Ronnie had just left the pits with a set of new tyres. Not the soft qualifying tyres that usually give better lap times, but the harder tyres that normally are used for the race. It's the same type of tyres that the drivers furder down on the grid use.
When Ronnie's fast time came up on the board Colin made a sign to Nigel Bennet (Ronnie's race engineer).
-'Bring Ronnie in immidiately!' he ordered.
Bennet corrected his glasses and slowly walked back to the pitwall, buying time as the thoughts circled in his mind. Should he obey Colin or not?
Out on the track Ronnie was on fire in his Lotus 79. His tyres were coming up to temperature, he could feel that the grip was at it's optimum and he pressed harder on the accelerator.
In stead of showing Ronnie the board with a 'pit in', Bennet allowed his driver to take another lap. At the end of that lap Ronnie had made a time of 1.16.80!
In the corner of his eye he could see Chapman with an angry look on his face. He had seen the time and he knew that Ronnie's time was unbeatable.
No matter how hard Mario tried during the final minutes of qualifying he couldn't beat Ronnie's time."
Posted 17 December 2001 - 16:42
Posted 18 December 2001 - 18:32
After the 1973 season, Lotus went into a slump. With Peterson driving, the team fell to 4th place in 1974 then 7th place in 1975. In 1976, Andretti joined the team and Peterson left after the first race (Brazil). Over the course of that year, Andretti developed the Lotus 77 and won the last race of the season (Japan). In 1977, Andretti and Chapman managed to bring the team up to 2nd place in the Constructors Championship. Lotus was coming back, and Andretti was an important part of it. We know what happened in 1978.
And Peterson had left for other teams.
I remember reading at the time that Colin Chapman didn't actually give "public" team orders, but it was understood within the team that Andretti, who helped bring Lotus back from its slump, was to be the team leader. The spoils would go to Andretti. Ronnie Peterson wasn't about to be allowed back into the team and beat Mario...
Posted 18 December 2001 - 19:04
my first ever grand prix live happened to be ronnies last finish ever, zandvoort '78.
Wow, it must be very upsetting.
As I remembered Ronnie was driving a Lotus MK3 (78) and not the MK4 (79) in that particular race, and I also read that his death was somewhat due to the fragility of the 78. Someone please correct me?
Posted 18 December 2001 - 19:28
little did we know.
it was in monza where he was forced to drive the old car and crashed.
that was his final race. he never saw the finish.
Posted 18 December 2001 - 22:01
With the same car AND THE SAME conditions... in yours opinions, who's faster?
Mario or Ronnie? I don't mean the best... I mean the fastest...
And... does anyone knows from who was the first step: Ronnie wants to go
back to Lotus, or was Lotus that ask him?
Posted 19 December 2001 - 15:30
Posted 19 December 2001 - 21:10
the story. I think Ronnie's best years were wasted messing around at March.
Imagine if Ronnie had been at McLaren in those years?
I also have more than a few historical/hindsight questions I would like to
ask Colin Chapman too! Has anyone asked say a Bob Dance what he remembers?
What to me is totally amazing is how is it that a guy like Ronnie with his
car control and his unbelievable reflexes could be so numb to variances in
car set-up? You would thing the two would go hand in hand?
I do know from personal experience the difference in "feel" in a Formula
Ford vs. a Formula Atlantic is actually fairly subtle believe it or not.
The Atlantic just sticks better and feels more hooked-up; but from a seat
of the pants feel there is NOT much difference because of the mechanical
grip generated by the tires. HOWEVER, the difference between a wing Atlantic car and a ground effects Atlantic car is VERY noticable! You can
feel the car being "sucked" down...it is spooky.
Posted 22 January 2002 - 23:37
Ronnie really should have won the championship in 1973 when he had 9 poles but the car didn't hold for the races, or maybe it was partly his fault. I don't know. He was faster, but maybe not as tactical as other drivers.
Saying this, I believe that Mario in one way was a better driver, developing the Lotus car, and also very fast. It's just that Ronnie had some kind of raw talent. And it's a shame that fate put him in the middle of the grid that terrible day at Monza, and that he was struck from behind leaving his car out of control.
Posted 23 January 2002 - 02:36
By Peter Wright(formerly areodynamic engineer for Team Lotus R and D)sub-titled"The cornering styles of three great drivers,as seen by a computer". The article is based on a December 1977 test at Paul Ricard with a Lotus 78 fitted with sensors to measure wheel loads and movements,longitudinal and lateral acceleration,yaw rate ,steering angle,halfshaft torque and both road and air speed. The drivers were Andretti,Peterson and Jackie Stewart! The driver's performance is charted on graphs.
It is a fascinating article that that answers a few of the questions raised by the posts on this thread(such as the '78 British GP). I will try to post the whole article soon,but if you have R&T,
July 1984,go to page 50 for a great read.
Posted 23 January 2002 - 09:29
Originally posted by Gerr
I will try to post the whole article soon ...
Posted 24 January 2002 - 18:26
I am just reading the book "MARCH - The Rise and Fall of a Motor Racing Legend" (Author: Mike Lawrence) If you are interested in history you should buy it.
Anyway, Robin Herd gives a lot of credit to Ronnie as a driver regarding car control, albeit not as a development driver. Just some pieces from the book:
"A little later Robin decided to try a wide-track version of the 712, so the team went to Thruxton with Ronnie and took along one of the rentadrivers, Niki Lauda. Robin says, "We didn't rate Niki at first, he'd not done very well in F3, but when you talked to him you realized that he had a good head on his shoulders and we took him testing to give him a bit of experience. Niki went out to set a base time, Then Ronnie took over the same car and I drove Niki to the back of the circuit to watch him. Ronnie came round on the warm-up lap, sideways on with the car leaping into the air as it went over a bump. Niki took one step back and literally went pale. 'Robin,' he said, 'I could never, ever, drive a racing car like that.'
"He was still shaken when we drove back to the pits and I asked what time he thought Ronnie had done. He said, 'I did 1m 14.0s, he must have been two seconds a lap faster, 1m 12s.' In fact Ronnie's best lap was 1m 14.3s and I thought then maybe this guy is going to be good. He could never drive with the same panache as Ronnie, but achieved his results with by the application of his intelligence, which is way it took him longer to make his mark and for us to take him seriously, but later in that year, at Rouen, he was quicker than Ronnie and had to be told in no uncertain terms that that was not part of the plan."
Ronnie's debut in F1 (Monaco 1970):
"Ronnie was making his F1 debut with minimal testing since with only one chassis and one engine that was a luxury one dreamed about, but he posted a time equal to Graham Hill's Lotus and was quicker than Surtees' McLaren and both BRM. He also equalled the time set by Johnny Servoz-Gavin in the second Tyrell car, but Johnny crashed in practise and didn't make the start. During one practise session, which was wet, Ronnie arrived opposite the pits with the car sideways but under perfect control. Colin Chapman's eyes lit up and he turned to 'Beaky' Sims, "Who's he? I want him." It was the start of an eternal triangle between Chapman, March and Ronnie"