This week the Word Butchers ask:
Does Marco Andretti improve or hurt his teammates at Andretti Green Racing?
I’d say probably both in a way, although he’s still improving year on year. His raw talent and speed isn’t in doubt but he seems to find himself in accidents maybe a little more often than maybe he ought to. Accidents cause a loss of track time (obviously), and that’s not what you need especially in a series as close as IndyCar where you need to be on top of conditions at all times.
With four drivers AGR can split the race weekend set-up workload and get results more quickly than other teams can – in theory, anyway. If you take out a chunk of time caused by crashes, his part of that is lost to the whole team. I’m including the races here, even then you lose valuable learning time. Even the most experienced drivers need that time because the cars, engines, tyres and circuits are always evolving even in a largely spec formula.
He’ll sort it out soon – I’m tipping him to do just that this year. He showed signs of it in ’08, it’ll come.
He’s showing an apparent change of attitude since the last part of the ’08 IRL season. The willingness to go to A1GP when he really didn’t need to take an unpaid drive in what is still a fairly obscure series, on his earnings and with his secure ride, I think it says a lot about how he’s willing to broaden his experience base and technical ability. I’m not sure how true that was before. I mean I don’t know if he genuinely wanted to be in the ALMS car, or if he was just parachuted in to help.. Those of you who watch those races may be able to answer that.
So yeah, in summary… If he keeps ending up in the wall or other cars, it hinders his teammates. Sometimes he shows a level of arrogance I don’t like, maybe that hinders things too, although in his defence perhaps that’s the only way to get anything in that team with Princess around.
On the other hand, his ever growing experience with these cars and his experience with another powerful single-seater will give him another reference point to work with. He’ll now approach the Dallara with a completely different mindset. This will help him and his teammates, particularly Mutoh who is still new to this stuff, and may also take some of the set-up pressure off of TK, which in turn will allow Tony to fight for the title… although I’m sure Marco is thinking of an assault on that himself.