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Andretti: F1 finally has a home in America

NEWS STORY
12/11/2012

1978 world champion, Mario Andretti, believes that in Austin's Circuit of the America's, the United States finally has a facility worthy of F1.

While there have been some great tracks, most notably Watkins Glen, there have also been some shockers, not least the race around the car park in Las Vegas. Indeed, many believe one of the main reasons for Formula One's failure to capture that imagination of the American public is the fact that races were rarely held at facilities capable of showing the very best the sport has to offer.

Andretti, one of motorsport's true legends, believes that's all about to change.

"When I saw the place in June I had my doubts about this ever going ahead," he admitted to the Observer. "But I've been amazed at the work that has taken place since. There were big difficulties, because the whole project fell into different hands. But there was a passion and a resolve to perform miracles and make it work.

"And now this can be the fixed home of the US Grand Prix," he continued. "And I think that fact will see the event not only surviving but thriving in the future. It's a great host city and I think the track, borrowing a bit from Silverstone here, a little of Hockenheim there, will go down great with the drivers."

Reflecting on America's chequered past in terms of F1, he said: "We tried Long Beach, Detroit, Dallas, Phoenix, Indianapolis… it looked like Watkins Glen would be our real home and we were there for 19 years. It was extremely successful but we did not reinvest and reconstruct, which was a big mistake."

Andretti, who was one of the first to complete a lap of the new circuit, and also officially opened it in a recent ceremony, is also looking forward to the mooted New Jersey Grand Prix.

"Can you imagine New York as the backdrop?" he says. "It could be fantastic. But right now Austin is all we're thinking about."

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