Andretti: Ferrari one-two in Australian GP no coincidence

Andretti: Ferrari one-two in Australian GP no coincidence

Andretti: Ferrari one-two in Australian GP no coincidence

Mario Andretti, the 1978 Formula 1 Champion, insisted Ferrari’s one-two finish at the 2024 Australian GP was no coincidence and expects more strong performances from his former team.

Ferrari turned the tables in Melbourne after Red Bull Racing dominated the first couple of races of 2024 in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, Carlo Sainz leading Charles Leclerc home in a famous one-two for the Reds.

Despite Max Verstappen’s DNF on lap two playing a role in the outcome of the race, Ferrari seemed to be on it that weekend, managing the tyres better than Red Bull, while Sainz – still recovering from surgery – was in top form on the day.

Andretti lauded for their result down under, and speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, he said: “I saw the race, it was great. Congratulations to Ferrari! A success that was not given away, even if Verstappen retired immediately. I’m always happy to see a Red win, let alone if it’s a double like in Australia.”

Explaining further, Andretti insisted Ferrari’s result around Albert Park was on merit and not only down to Verstappen’s DNF from brake failure.

“No, results like this are real, concrete,” he maintained. “It wasn’t a coincidence, Ferrari was there in terms of pace in free practice and qualifying . They’ve done everything right since Friday, and it was good to see Carlos at 100% after the operation that sidelined him in Saudi Arabia. He and Leclerc are there now, they can face anyone.”

“Absolutely yes, Ferrari has come close,” was the 84-year-old’s response when asked of Ferrari can repeat such strong performances.

“This was a business built well from the start . It will be interesting to watch the rest of the season, but I saw good signs. At Cavallino this time they did everything right, with the tyres and also with the strategies, two weak points in the past,” he added.

As for Verstappen’s race ending failure, the American commented: “It was a coincidence.

“It is also difficult to think that it could have been a mechanic’s distraction. However, what happened within the team is still a bad blow for everyone, it’s negative.”

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While Sainz was imperious in the way built up his speed over the Australian GP weekend, still suffering from the effects of the appendicitis surgery he underwent in Jeddah two weeks before. He was on it while teammate Leclerc messed up his qualifying after looking good for pole, the Monegasque also taking a different path in setup, which seemed to backfire.

“You always have to try to do better, adapt the car to your driving style: it’s not a mistake to change the set-up to try to bring out something more,” Andretti said of Leclerc. “Sure, you take a risk and sometimes it doesn’t pay off, it’s not guaranteed to be the right direction.

“Carlos, compared to Charles, had everything sorted out well from the start in Melbourne, a better feeling with the SF-24.

“I’m a little sad to see that he was sacrificed to make room for [Lewis] Hamilton. But for sure, the way he is racing, he has the right to find a seat with which to fight to win: he has earned a seat in a top team for the future,” Andretti concluded.

Andretti raced for Ferrari for ten grands prix in 1971 and 1972 before moving to Parnelli in 1973 and then to Lotus where he remained until 1980 winning the F1 Title with them in 1978.

He drove one season with Alfa Romeo in 1981 while in 1982 he took part in three races, the USA West Grand Grand Prix with Williams, then the Italian Grand Prix and the Caesars Palace Grand Prix with Ferrari.

He took pole for the race at Monza but engine troubles meant he finished third. His only win with Ferrari was in South Africa in 1971.