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Mario Andretti, Ferrari 126C2, speaks to Mauro Forghieri
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The 1982 frenzy that modern F1 could miss out on by ejecting Andretti

OPINION: Ferrari’s team principal has recently questioned what the Andretti name would bring to Formula 1. MAURICE HAMILTON reflects on the last great tie-up between the two great racing names and why it proves the stance to be flawed

Frederic Vasseur might have been just 14 years old but he must have been doing something other than paying attention to the Italian Grand Prix in September 1982. Had he done so, the current Ferrari team principal would have been as astounded as everyone else when Mario Andretti made an F1 comeback at the age of 42, stuck his Ferrari on pole at Monza and finished third.

Andretti’s late substitution massively boosted flagging ticket sales in a confusing and catastrophic year that had seen the deaths of Riccardo Paletti and Gilles Villeneuve. When Didier Pironi – the ’82 champion apparent – was seriously injured at Hockenheim and Patrick Tambay began struggling with back pain, Ferrari needed another star driver. Cue the call to Nazareth, Pennsylvania and an invitation for Andretti to test the Ferrari 126C2 at Fiorano on the Monday before Monza.

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