DRIVERS: MICHAEL ANDRETTI
Name: Michael Andretti
Nationality: United States of America
Date of birth: October 5, 1962 - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Son of the 1978 World Champion Mario Andretti, Michael started car racing in 1980 at the wheel of a Formula Ford single seater. In 1981 he won six of the 11 Super Vee races and won the championship. The next step was Formula Atlantic where he came up against the likes of Roberto Moreno. Michael won at Sears Point, Trois Rivieres and Westwood to win the championship. The same year he made his Indycar debut and finished third in the Le Mans 24 Hours driving with his father.
Michael became a full-time Indycar driver in 1984 and four the next five seasons raced with the Kraco team. In 1985 he was Indianapolis Rookie of the Year and won his first race in 1986 when he finished runner-up in the championship. He finished second again the following year.
At the start of 1989 he joined his father in the Newman/Haas team. He was championship runner-up in 1990, won the title in 1991 and was runner-up again the next year. He first tested an F1 McLaren in 1991 and in 1993 he was signed by the McLaren team to partner Ayrton Senna. He never got to grips with his new challenge. Shortage of pre-season testing in a year when the sport's rule-makers imposed a limit to the number of practice laps hardly helped Michael who was hampered by seemingly endless spins and minor collisions.
After finishing third in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza he was replaced by Mika Hakkinen for the last three races of the season. He returned to CART with the Ganassi team in 1994 and gave Reynard its first CART win in Australia at the first race. Michael switched to Newman/Haas again in 1995 and finished second in the CART title to Jimmy Vasser in 1996 before Newman/Haas began a new relationship with Swift which did not prove to be very successful in 1997-1999. In 2000 the team used Lola chassis and Michael won in Motegi but for 2002 he made the decision to move to Team Green as he wanted to try to win the Indianapolis 500 and Newman Haas refused to enter the Indy Racing League event. Andretti ran in a third Team Green car with Motorola sponsorship and ran at Indianapolis. In July it was announced that Michael had bought the team and intended to shift the entire operation (which was renamed Andretti Green Racing) to the IRL. Michael turned his attention to running the Andretti Green Racing team in the Indy Racing League and overseeing the career of his son Marco, who has ambitions in F1.