During a recent interview with Italian daily newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, the 1978 Italian-American world champion and former Scuderia Ferrari driver Mario Andretti, focused on the Maranello team’s return to the top, its drivers, the rivalry between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen, the inaugural edition of the Miami Grand Prix and the difficulties encountered by Mercedes.
Here are some of the most important comments from Mario Andretti, as reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport.
About Ferrari’s return to the top in Formula 1
“It is the best thing that could have happened, including for Formula 1. The whole world is cheering for Ferrari, no other team is so loved, and we have been waiting for a long time for them to return to the front. Personally, I suffered to see them in such difficulty during the previous two years. I was hoping they would take advantage of the new regulations to be competitive again, but no one could be sure. Instead they have succeeded very well. Now they have to continue like this. The championship will be fought to the end and I am confident that Ferrari will be capable of stay at the top by developing the car”.
About Charles Leclerc
“He is young, but he has already shown that he is a champion. He always fights, giving his all, so you shouldn’t hold it against him if he sometimes makes a mistake like at Imola. A mistake can happen. He has a strong character and fears no one”.
On the duels between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen
“So far I have had a lot of fun watching them fight. In Bahrain and Saudi Arabia they overtook each other from corner to corner, what a show! There is great respect between the two and this makes the comparison even more beautiful. Last year there were always problems between Verstappen and Hamilton “.
About Carlos Sainz
“He is also very good and will be able to bring results to the team, thanks to his experience. The internal competition between Carlos and Charles is very strong, but it is right that Ferrari let them free to race without team orders.”
On the F1 debut in Miami
“It will be a novelty for everyone and I expect a great show. The city is attractive, a destination for the public and for tourists, even from Latin America. I know the organizers, they have invested a lot to create a stage up to the expectations, with the goal of guaranteeing a solid future for the race. In the USA there is now a crazy interest for Formula 1, never seen like this before. And in 2023 we will have three races, including Austin and Las Vegas, one more as compared to Italy…”.
On the possible entry of his son Michael’s team into Formula 1
“We are working on it every day and we have all the means to make it. Our entry request has not yet been accepted, but we carry on as if we should already be ready to hit the track in 2024. I would like to breathe the paddock air again. The Andretti family lives only for racing “.
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On the difficulties of Mercedes and Hamilton
“In sport there is no guarantee of success, it also applies to Mercedes, which dominated for a long time, but this time was unable to react to the regulation change. It takes time, but they will be back in front. As for Hamilton, he is no longer used to having a car inferior to the competition”.
The comparison between young champions and those of the past
“I always say that yesterday’s champions would also be champions today and vice versa. Because you need the same skills to drive to the limit and in the end man always counts.”