Marco Andretti: Less setup work makes me a better driver
Marco Andretti has stated that he needs to simplify his involvement in car setup to maximise his success in the coming season.
The driver of the Andretti Herta Autosport car is suffering a win drought that goes back to his last top of the podium triumph in 2011, and believes this approach is the right one to bring back success.
“It's easy to get too in tune with the engineering aspect of it,” Andretti told IndyCar.com. “I need to actually step away and just drive the car. The reason you see a lot of fast rookies is because ignorance is bliss sometimes. They're just driving the car.”
The 31 year old considers himself a series veteran, and has been frustrated with how bad luck affected his running in 2018.
“We knocked on the door (last year),” reflected Andretti. “It'd be nice to have more than one win this year and capitalize on the ones that (got away). I've had to pit on (potential) podium (finishes) on the white flag last year (at Toronto) and stuff like that. That stuff hurts. It'd be nice to just capitalize and get ones that we’re in command to get.”
Looking back on his run to pole position in Detroit last year, Andretti is confident of the reasons for that particular success.
“Last year at Detroit, I remember being sixth in practice, having a little lift in a corner and coming in and saying, ‘Don’t change the car. We’re on pole if I can execute.’ That helps me because I know what I have, so changing the car less is big for me. That’s a new approach this year.”
Admitting he is not adept at “running through three different setups in three different sessions” might be seen as a sign of weakness by some, but Andretti asserts that knowing where he needs help is a positive thing.
That help has arrived in the form of a new race engineer, up-and-coming Mark Bryant, who helped guide Patricio O’Ward to his 2018 Indy Lights championship.
“I think he's a future superstar, honestly. He's come in and given completely outside-of-the-box ideas to our entire team already,” enthused Andretti. “He is really studying my style and he's had a lot of ideas already of how he can help me.
“He knows some deficits that I need to work on in my game, and he knows that if we focus on those areas with the race car, then hopefully I'm quick enough in the other type of corners to overcome that.”