IndyCar champion Michael Andretti was one of the biggest losers in F1

IndyCar champion Michael Andretti was one of the biggest losers in F1

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Amidst a series of pressures, former driver Michael Andretti is riding against the tide as he seeks a place for his team in the world championship. formula 1. The son of the champion Mario Andretti, the American is suffering from a boycott of the competition, which is not good at all for his team to enter the category.

This is not the first time Michael has contacted her formula 1. The former driver rose to fame in Formula Indy, winning the category title in 1991. The following year, Andretti finished second and impressed McLaren. The driver and the team signed a partnership agreement for the 1993 season.

At the time, the Woking team was one of the great powers of the circus and had its Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna, who would have his best season that year. The late three-time champion won in Brazil and fought for the title against his rival Alain Prost, who technically dismissed Williams with a suspension.

Michael Andretti was 30 years old and had the name of his father, champion Mario, who won in 1978. formula 1. Everything showed that the season could produce good results for the United States, which experienced a shortage of drivers in European motorsport. Before Andretti, the last American to venture into the circus formula 1 was Eddie Cheever, who retired as an Arrows driver in 1989.

Despite great expectations, the passage of Michael Andretti through formula 1 it was real torture for the pilot. Bad feelings closed the circus doors for North Americans, who went more than a decade without a representative. The first one yankee after Michael Andretti became Scott Speed, who was unsuccessful at Toro Rosso in 2006 and 2007.

McLaren was interested in the rise of American motorsport, which was growing at that time with the popularity of IndyCar and the Indianapolis 500. Currently, the team competes in the main single-seater category in the United States and its first step towards “Americanism” was with two drivers who were rising at Indy: Al Unser Junior and Michael Andretti.

The first was analyzed after the test by Williams and the second continued to communicate more with the team. Michael Andretti made his Formula 1 debut in 1991, in a test at the Estoril circuit, in Portugal. At the time, the American drove the McLaren MP4-5B, which won Ayrton Senna’s championship. Andretti left a good impression, but Ron Dennis chose to extend his contract with the duo of Senna and Berger.

In an interview with the website Racer, the American revealed that he signed a contract with Ferrari for the year 1992. Andretti was the current F-Indy champion and according to the former driver, Carl Haas, of the Newman-Haas team, he was not released. compete for the Maranello team. That year, Ferrari fielded the duo of Jean Alesi and Ivan Capelli.

With a valid contract for one more season, Michael Andretti began negotiations with McLaren and arrived as the IndyCar runner-up at the end of 1992. Although the American could be a hope for the team, McLaren was going through a difficult time. The MP4-7 model was problematic and contributed to the end of the partnership with Honda.

On the other hand, the Woking team faced obstacles and the great technological progress of Williams, which is the winning team. The cars had automatic transmission, electronic sensor accelerator, automatic clutch, traction control and active suspension.

McLaren tried to negotiate a partnership with Renault, but to no avail. Boss Ron Dennis also considered buying the Ligier team, which had French engines, which would strengthen the team’s relationship with the factory. A risky move ended up being thrown.

To make matters worse, Ayrton Senna and Gerhard Berger were also out of contract for the 1993 season. In this way, Michael Andretti became a good substitute and the rental announcement was made at the Italian Grand Prix, when Gerhard Berger signed the contract. with a Ferrari.

Another important factor was the communication between Ayrton Senna and Williams. The Brazilian even offered to run for the team for free, but the deal was rejected by Alain Prost, who was backed by Renault. With Senna’s uncertainty, Ron Dennis made a deal with Finnish Mika Hakkinen, a former Lotus driver.

The new MP4-8 was launched in January 1993 at Silverstone, England. At the time, there were doubts about Senna’s durability and the team introduced Michael Andretti and Mika Hakkinen as its drivers for the season.

Worried about the results, Ron Dennis offered Ayrton a separate contract, where McLaren would pay him $1 million per race. In this way, a weight duo was created, a three-time champion of formula 1 and IndyCar champion. Mika Hakkinen became the test pilot.

failure on the track

Ron Dennis signed a contract with Ford engines for the 1993 season. The equipment supplied to both Andretti and Senna was second-rate, unlike the Ford adopted by Benetton, which was followed by a new evolution.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the car, Michael Andretti arrived at the circus as one of North America’s premier motorsport events. This issue was decisive for the work of the pilot, who did not know the layout of formula 1.

In the first stage, held in South Africa, Michael Andretti was three seconds behind Ayrton Senna in the standings. In the race he encountered problems with compression and when he came back three laps he retired after an accident.

In the Brazilian GP, ​​the second race on the calendar, Andretti collided with Gerhard Berger at the start in a fatal crash, while McLaren and Ferrari collided at the tire barrier.

Retirements continued at the following stages: At Donnington Park, the American collided with Karl Wendlinger and at Imola, the driver spun on lap 32 and retired from the race in fourth place.

The start of the 1993 Grand Prix, marked by a crash between Michael Andretti and Gerhard Berger.

Michael Andretti successfully finished his first race in Spain, where he won fifth place. Comparisons between Ayrton Senna and the American created a sense of uncertainty for Ron Dennis, who basically had one driver capable of scoring consistently throughout the season.

With bad numbers, McLaren decided to replace Michael Andretti and Mika Hakkinen at the Belgian Grand Prix. The team’s intention was for Finn to finish second for the rest of the season. However, Mario Andretti sought out Ron Dennis and asked his son to participate in the Italian GP, ​​because of his family background. Michael finished his career in formula 1 and third place, in the traditional Monza race.

Not renewed in European motorsport, the American returned to Formula Indy and signed a contract with Chip Ganassi in 1994. The driver raced until the first decade of the 2000s.

Michael Andretti currently owns an IndyCar team and still has ties to McLaren. The former driver mentored the team, which today has a team in North American motorsport. It is also worth mentioning the driver Colton Herta, from Andretti Racing, who tested McLaren that year.