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F1 NEWS 

Mario Andretti proud of grandson's debut

Mario Andretti believes his grandson Marco's maiden Formula One test will lead to more tests in the future - where the 1978 world champion hopes to drive a modern F1 car himself.

The 19-year-old IRL Rookie of the Year, son of former CART champion Michael Andretti, had his first taste of driving a Formula One car at Jerez in Spain last month, after Honda Racing invited him in recognition of his success in IndyCar last season.

Marco drove a total of 67 laps over a single day, finishing with a best time of 1:21.888 - two seconds slower than Honda test driver Christian Klien.

And the senior Andretti, who won the drivers' championship with Lotus in 1978, said he was sufficiently impressed with his grandson's debut.

"I think Marco performed well in the test," Mario told Gazzetta dello Sport. "The most important thing is that he made no mistakes.

"Michael updated me on the test every 15 minutes with a string of messages. We kept going on until three in the morning.

"His physical build is well suited to F1, and in Jerez he got within half a second of [Honda's test driver James] Rossiter. Not bad, is it?"

Andretti said he was confident there will be more F1 tests for Marco, and added: "At the next test I'll come along as well - and in fact I would like to try out a modern F1 car myself.

"Yes, the cockpits are tighter nowadays, but I haven't become too wide..."

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