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Marco Andretti on Future F1 career: ‘I Would Definitely Take a Strong Look at it.’

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The infamous Andretti name has been on an open wheel grid for as long as most race fans can remember.

Standing as one of the most recognizable American racing names in the world, would 28-year-old Marco ever consider bringing the name back to F1?

“Formula 1 is still the cream of the crop for me,” he stated. “Having said that, it would be tough to leave because I feel like I’m just coming into my own as a driver (in IndyCar). I think it took a little too long, but I feel I’m in a good place. I feel like we can compete anywhere we roll off. That’s a good feeling.

For Marco Andretti, son of Michael and grandson of Mario, he has taken the green flag in the Verizon IndyCar Series for 10 years – ranking up two race wins, 20 podium finishes and nearly 1,000 laps out front in 165 starts.

“This is what I’ve grown up doing,” Andretti said of IndyCar, Friday at Pocono Raceway. “Next year is my 11th year in the series. Really looking to capitalize on maybe some misfortune.”

However, the Andretti name branches further out than just IndyCar.

Marco, himself, made a Formula E start – an electric series in its debut season – for Andretti Autosport in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Marco says the biggest difference of that unique series was, simply, the sound.

“The drivers really feed off the sound,” he said. “I didn’t realize how much we do until there was none from the engine.”

Grandfather, Mario, spent 14 seasons – five of which he started every race – in Formula 1, winning 12 races, 18 poles and the elusive World Championship in 1978.

Father Michael also took to the F1 platform with McLaren in 1993, starting 13 races with a best finish of third at Monza – what would end up being his final F1 start.

“Formula 1 is still the cream of the crop for me.” – Marco Andretti

For 28-year-old Marco, he has tasted the speed and thrill of a F1 race car, testing for Honda Racing in December 2006 and February 2007 at the Jerez track in Spain.

“The biggest difference for me (between an Indy car and F1 car) was the braking, how quick the car stopped,” Marco said. “I mean, seven gears from the straightaway to a hairpin – you barely have time to downshift. As quick as you can click the paddle, the car stops from almost 200 mph. That definitely took its toll on my neck.

“Here (in IndyCar), the brakes are good, but the cars are heavier. Those (F1 cars) are definitely more agile and have a lot more grip.”

On the second day of the February test, Marco took the car for a ride in the rain.

“I ran a day in the wet, I think,” Marco remembers. “The grip in the wet that those cars have was just so much fun. I actually had to train my brain that the thing would stick because of the amount of speed it lets you carry. It was so much fun.”

With Haas F1 Team – the American team founded by NASCAR co-owner Gene Haas - taking to the grid at Melbourne for the 2016 F1 season, the opportunity for Americans to return to F1 has never been brighter. It will be the first American team to compete in F1 in 30 years.

“Formula 1 would be like starting over,” he said. “The expectations wouldn’t be high maybe with that team. If you can go beat your teammate over there, that’s what people look at. Yeah, I would definitely take a strong look at it.”

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About Zach Catanzareti

Zach Catanzareti serves as a Contributing Writer in the NASCAR department for Rubbings Racing and can be followed on Twitter (@zachracing) for the latest NASCAR updates. A native of Easton, Pennsylvania, he also follows IndyCar and Formula 1.

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