Mario Andretti Wants Ferrari To Join IndyCar
Mario Andretti is no stranger to Ferrari, having raced for the Scuderia in 1971, ’72 and ’82 in Formula 1, as well as in a string of their sports cars. And now the racing legend would like to see the Prancing Horse in his own neighborhood, with an invitation to join the IndyCar series.
Currently, only Honda and Chevrolet supply engines to IndyCar, while the Italian-based Dallara is the lone chassis builder. But in a recent interview with Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport, Andretti, who himself claimed the USAC/CART championship in ’65, ’66, ’69 (including an Indy 500 win) and ’84, revealed his wishes for a collaboration to see the red cars running in North America.
“Having Ferrari would be incredible,” Andretti told the newspaper. “Not only as an engine supplier, but also as a chassis builder.
“It is clear that the rules should be changed, but I would like an all-Italian Dallara vs. Ferrari battle. The Cavallino (Ferrari’s Prancing Horse symbol) would increase interest in the championship, but there is an obstacle in the rules.
“I suggest [Mattia] Binotto [team principle for Scuderia Ferrari] comes and proposes an idea to Roger Penske [IndyCar series owner].”
Believe it or not, this wouldn’t be Ferrari’s first dabble with IndyCar racing. In 1986, the Scuderia unveiled the 637 with which the team ‘intended’ to race in what was then called the CART series. Enzo Ferrari was angry with new regulations in F1 and threatened to jump ship with the 637, but ultimately it was passed on to Alfa Romeo as a test mule and was never driven in anger.
Ferrari had also participated in the 1952 Indianapolis 500, as it offered F1 championship points at the time. However, the only factory driver to qualify, Alberto Ascari, crashed out and finished in 32nd place.
Coincidentally, Ferrari is unhappy once again with proposed F1 regulation changes that would see team budgets drop and possible employee layoffs in Maranello; could this be the impetus needed to return the Prancing Horse to the Indianapolis 500? We can dare to dream.
*Images courtesy of Formula 1, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar.com