Marco Andretti changing driving style after 2012 IndyCar struggle
Marco Andretti, who turns 26 on March 13th had a bad year last season and he has determined he has been over-driving the car.
“The toughest thing to do right now is to look back and look at what we could have done so I’m looking forward to what we can get done.”
Andretti last season posted three top-10 finishes, with a best of second on the Iowa Speedway oval where he won in 2011, and a pole start in the finale on the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway oval. Qualifying eighth in the opener on the streets of St. Petersburg and finishing 11th (Barber and Belle Isle) were highs on road/street circuits.
“My overall style I’ve changed it,” he said, “and it’s given me a new perspective for the street courses. Now I’m actually reporting the same things as Ryan (Hunter-Reay) where normally I’d be talking about the car being loose because I’m getting the same feedback from the car now that I’ve changed my style to be doing more of what he’s doing.”
“I’ve adapted slower than most to the tire than has less grip since ’06 and ’07 because I’m a very aggressive driver and it’s kind of worked against me,” said Andretti, who recorded his maiden IZOD IndyCar Series victory at Sonoma in 2006. “I always knew I was overdriving the car, but I didn’t know exactly how so I’ve been really studying that. It’s easier said than done to change; you just can’t say, ‘Get it together.’ You have to look at what you’re doing, and as the street courses progressed I got worse and worse because I was driving harder and harder.
“It makes sense because the first practice I’m always up there, and then as we get closer to qualifying and in qualifying I’m coming in soaking wet and I’m 21st. No kidding you’re overdriving but how are you overdriving?
“This offseason I’ve really been looking into detail of how I’ve been doing that and essentially I was trying to make the front tires do two things at once. You want to drive your natural style because that’s how you’re going to be your quickest, but at the same time you have to drive with the tire. When you put me in a high downforce car, sometimes my style is untouchable because the aggressiveness rewards you with grip, but it hurts you with no grip.”
With favorable weather at Sebring Tuesday, Andretti and company went through multiple set-ups in addition working through the Chevrolet list for the 2.2-liter, twin turbocharged V-6 engine. The Ilmor Engineering-developed Chevrolet won 11 of the 15 races last season, including the opener at St. Petersburg.
“The street course-type corners I’m already quicker there,” Andretti said following the first session. “It’s all good.”