Mario Andretti has announced that he is to become involved with Lotus Racing this season. The Malaysian backed Formula One Team have invited Andretti, the 1978 Formula One World Champion to join them in an as yet undefined role with the Team.
The American is in Bahrain for this weekends opening Grand Prix and is also part of the celebration of Formula One’s 60th Year.
The relaunched team is not directly connected to the original Lotus Team, but Andretti confirmed that the Teams current management have asked him to become involved.
“There might become a little bit more of an involvement on my part ” Andretti told reporters.
Asked what involvement his part would take? the 12 times Grand Prix winner said, “Let’s wait and see, stay tuned.
Mario Andretti – a name spoken with respect throughout the USA. A master on the Formula One and NASCAR track, Mario Andretti has certainly left a major mark on the history of motor racing. Andretti, an Italian-American, has had a remarkable driving career with 1 Formula One World Championship and 4 Indy Car title wins.
Mario Gabriele Andretti, along with his twin brother Aldo, was born on 28 February 1940 in Italy. In 1948 due to the occupation of his homeland by Yugoslavia, his family promptly departed, finally coming to reside in Nazareth of Pennsylvania, USA. Andretti’s racing career began in 1959 as he raced around a dirt track in a Hudson. His first year of racing saw Mario Andretti coming in 3rd place at the Indianapolis 500. 1964 was the year Andretti began racing in the USAC series. He also took part in a variety of forms of auto racing such as drag racing.
Mario Andretti also had a keen interest in Formula One. His first race was at Watkins Glen in 1968 and his first win for Ferrari was in 1971. Andretti’s focus really shifted to F1 driving in the mid-1970s. He began driving for the Parnelli team. He took the Lotus to its limit, developing a fantastic racing car that took an amazing full lap lead at Mount Fuji track. 1978 was a remarkable season with 6 wins in his brilliantly designed Lotus 79. Unfortunately after his previous grand successes as a Formula 1 driver, Andretti failed to gain victory from 1979 onwards. However his career in F1 reminded all why he was a champion as he competed with Ferrari in 1982. Andretti continued racing IndyCars during the ’80s.
Through his racing days Mario Andretti received much recognition, awards and titles. Amongst these are the 1978 F1 World Champion, Inductee of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2000 and Inductee of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1996. He was even named “Driver of the Century” in 2000 by Associated Press and RACER magazine. Andretti was honored by the Italian government in 2006, by being awarded the Commendatore dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana.
Today Mario Andretti is a top business man. He has set up the Andretti Winery in Napa Valley and has business interests in car dealerships, petroleum, the Mario Andretti Racing School as well as the Andretti Indoor Karting and Games center. However, Mario Andretti will always be remembered as one of the greatest race car drivers ever.