Michael: Marco must enter F1 in a top car
|By Jonathan Noble||Saturday, February 10th 2007, 14:25 GMT|
Marco Andretti will only make the switch to Formula One if he is in a position to win races right from the start, claims his father and team boss Michael Andretti.
Andretti Jr completed his second test for Honda Racing at Jerez in Spain this week and has admitted that he would be interested in a move to Grand Prix racing once he has won the Indy 500.
But his father, who struggled to make it in F1 when he made his debut in 1993, has told autosport.com that he will only let it happen if he can get fully prepared.
"I had a very difficult year that was destined to fail," said Andretti about 1993, when he only got to test his new McLaren just one week before the start of the season.
"And that is one thing I do not want to happen to Marco. If he ever gets involved in F1, I want to make sure that when he sits in the first race, he is capable of winning.
"He is so young that whenever he does it, he has to be 100 percent ready."
Marco Andretti is contracted to Andretti Green Racing for another two years in the IRL, and Michael believes that any testing the youngster does now can only be good in helping him develop as a driver.
In fact, he plans for Marco to test a NASCAR stock car soon to further expand his horizons in terms of racing cars.
"I'm looking at it from a father's point of view, and also from an owner's point of view," he said. "So it is a delicate thing.
"I think the beauty of this team is there are two people (Michael and Mario) who care a lot about Marco and want what is best for Marco and ourselves. And I think right now getting in and getting experience is helping us, as a team.
"You know, the more we can put him in a different car, the better it is and the better he will do for us. That is what we are doing right now. We will put him in a NASCAR, and just doing that will help him.
"For the future we would love to have him for the rest of our time, you know, but it is probably not going to happen. We have him for at least the next two years and we are going to try to make best out of it, so who knows?
"What we know now is what we have. We will make the best of it, and hopefully we win lots of races with Marco."
Michael added that the F1 tests were not distracting his son, and that he remained fully focused on his efforts in the IRL.
"I am sure if he continues to do what we know he can do, then I am sure F1 people are going to be wanting to test him. The kid is really good.
"And you know, he's got his head on straight. He's got his priorities straight. He knows what he needs to do right now and his focus is on this year.
"If he wins the Indy championship, he will be happy; and if he doesn't, he will try again. That's what makes him a winner."