Mario Andretti: F1 missed out on 'pure' car like new IndyCar design

Formula 1 missed out on IndyCar's "pure-looking" single-seater by introducing new cars in 2017 that made overtaking more difficult, says American racing legend Mario Andretti

Mario Andretti: F1 missed out on 'pure' car like new IndyCar design

IndyCar switched to a universal aerokit for 2018 and banished manufacturer kits, dramatically reducing the level of downforce on offer.

That decision was made in order to lower costs and improve racing.

Four new teams joined for 2018 and the season-opener at St Petersburg produced a record number of overtakes.

F1 meanwhile radically overhauled its rules package for the 2017 season with more aggressive and wider cars that targeted significantly faster lap times, but it led to criticism regarding a lack of overtaking.

Just five on-track passes were completed after the start of last weekend's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Andretti told Autosport F1's approach meant it missed out on the "great job" IndyCar did with its 2018 changes.

"The [IndyCar] series, the management have done a great job in tweaking things," he said.

"They're doing the right thing with the aerodynamics of the cars and coming back to more of a pure-looking single-seater, open-wheel car which I think was something all of the open-wheel aficionados wanted to see.

"Unfortunately, last year's cars started looking more like a sports prototype car with all the winglets and all the bullshit that was hanging over, but what they've done, I think is [what] Formula 1 missed [out] on.

"They reduced the downforce of the car which is an element, they still gave them good downforce with the ground effect because it does not create turbulence.

"But with the smaller wings, you can stay near the guy's gearbox and you can have a competitive overtake.

"I think personally that's where F1 missed it, they gave them more mechanical grip with wider tyres that gave them bigger weights which created more turbulence.

"And by doing bigger wings, they shorten the braking points even further which eliminates almost the chance of overtaking.

"Yeah you have DRS, which you really need more than ever now, but at the same time even with DRS, you've got to be able to suck up to somebody's gearbox coming off a corner and you cannot use DRS until you're on the straight."

While Andretti praised IndyCar's direction, he criticised the decision to end the season earlier in the year than the NASCAR Cup series and F1.

"The only negative that I see is that they end the season too early," he said. "There's no reason why.

"They [IndyCar] talk about TV competition and all that, to me, that's all bull. You need to stay on [TV] because IndyCar is at the same time competing for time with F1, NASCAR.

"IndyCar disappears a week into September and it's a disservice to the drivers more than anything.

"That's one thing that I don't agree with management [on] and I will never agree with, so I wish they would be able to fix that, but I think they've got a lot going for them."

shares
comments
Honda wants chance for IndyCar engine development 'rethink'

Previous article

Honda wants chance for IndyCar engine development 'rethink'

Next article

Danica Patrick reveals Ed Carpenter Racing 2018 Indy 500 livery

Danica Patrick reveals Ed Carpenter Racing 2018 Indy 500 livery
Load comments

About this article

Series IndyCar
Drivers Marco Andretti
Author James Newbold
Can Penske redress the balance in IndyCar's battle of the titans? Plus

Can Penske redress the balance in IndyCar's battle of the titans?

IndyCar's gold standard teams Ganassi and Penske are set for another slugfest beginning this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park. A poor start to the first season with the new aeroscreen left Josef Newgarden with too much ground to make up on Scott Dixon in the title chase, but his strong end to 2020 suggests a battle royale lies ahead...

The six major IndyCar subplots to follow in 2021 Plus

The six major IndyCar subplots to follow in 2021

From rookies arriving with big reputations to veterans who still have the fire and an F1-linked squad pushing to join the big leagues, IndyCar has it all this year. Here are six of the key storylines to keep track of

IndyCar
Apr 15, 2021
The Indycar season that proves Michael Andretti is better than F1 showed Plus

The Indycar season that proves Michael Andretti is better than F1 showed

Often unfairly characterised as a car-breaker, judged for his lack of an Indianapolis 500 win and a disappointing part-season of Formula 1 in 1993, Michael Andretti was highly respected by his rivals and only thwarted greater success by ill-fortune. When it all came together in 1991, he was a truly formidable force

IndyCar
Mar 6, 2021
How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite Plus

How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite

The second year of McLaren's full-time IndyCar return is looming, with Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist leading its line-up. Strong team personnel and work behind the scenes means that 2021 could be the year it joins the established elite

IndyCar
Feb 21, 2021
The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart Plus

The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart

Flashes of brilliance amid spells of obscurity have been too common for Marco Andretti. While the third-generation racer has opted to bring his full-time IndyCar career to a close, his peaks and troughs have never been for want of trying

IndyCar
Jan 20, 2021
Why American racing's top dog is without equal Plus

Why American racing's top dog is without equal

A byword for success in business and in motorsport for over 50 years, Roger Penske's importance to the US scene cannot be understated. In an exclusive interview, the custodian of the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway reflects on his journey

IndyCar
Jan 11, 2021
The McLaren that rendered its Indy rivals obsolete Plus

The McLaren that rendered its Indy rivals obsolete

When founder Bruce McLaren died in June 1970, his team could have folded. Instead, his loyal band rallied to produce a string of winners - including an Indycar game-changer that won its third Indianapolis 500 five years after its debut

IndyCar
Dec 22, 2020
Why Newgarden's best IndyCar season yet wasn't enough Plus

Why Newgarden's best IndyCar season yet wasn't enough

Josef Newgarden feels he didn't put a foot wrong in 2020, yet his finest season-long run of performances failed to yield a third series championship. But in a warning shot to Scott Dixon, Team Penske's team leader has vowed to redouble his efforts in 2021

IndyCar
Dec 21, 2020