Marco Andretti, third generation driver and veteran of 17 Indianapolis 500s, has said that there would be better racing if the provided Firestone tires lost more performance throughout a stint.
In recent years, tire performance has been nearly consistent across a run at Indianapolis. That is expected to be even more the case with the added downforce the cars have this year.
During a typical Indy 500, drivers will make around five pit stops. However, that is usually determined by fuel and the timing of any caution periods rather than tire performance.
Andretti explained ahead or race day that even though the racing is going to be close on track, if the tires wore down quicker, the racing would be even better.
“In my humble opinion, I think Firestone is too good,” said Andretti. “I think we need some deg. We need degradation to really make comers and goers halfway to late in the stint.
“I think you should have to try to do a better job, put more of an emphasis on the end of a stint and taking care of your tires. We don’t have to do that. They’re pretty robust now.
“I think if there was more falloff in the tires, you’d probably see better racing.
“[Firestone] don’t want their tires falling off. Which I don’t blame them. They don’t want drivers commenting on the tires falling off. However, I think that does create good racing. I think they’re doing too good of a job.”
Since 2021, Andretti has left behind full time IndyCar racing and instead races only in the Indy 500 in a fifth Andretti Autosport entry.
This gives him plenty of time to focus on the biggest race of the year, and he’s still quite happy with his decision to cut back on his overall schedule.
Andretti will start his 18th Indianapolis 500 this Sunday, and will roll off from the 24th position.