Honestly, I’d hate to be Marco Andretti. With two preceding generations of great racing on your shoulders, it has to be extra rough to have a bad season. And that’s why Marco is going back to driving school ahead of his 15th season in the IndyCar series.
Andretti, racing this season for the Andretti Herta Autosport team, had a lot to reflect on once the 2019 season ended. Finishing 16th overall in the championship—his poorest finish at the end of a season, tied with 16th places in 2012 and 2016—while his teammates were winning races would have been one hell of a downer for anyone. And so Andretti decided to do something about it.
And what better way to hone your racing craft than by going back to driving school? After securing the okay from his team, Andretti will be heading out to Rob Wilson’s driving school in Bruntingthorpe, England for a second go at perfecting his skills, Autosport reports.
The interview in which Andretti revealed the news, though, was shockingly candid. It’s honestly pretty rare to find a driver willing to admit they’ve made a mistake, let alone opening up about a second round of driving school. Here’s more from the interview:
“Being critical of myself, qualifying has killed me,” Andretti admitted.
“Because it’s a big track-position dependent sport so you can’t start at the back and have a magnificent race unless there’s rain and a lot of yellows.
“My racecraft is pretty good and we go forward more often than not, but we have to start ahead of the eight-ball.
“We’re trying to wring everything out and I’m going back to Europe [to Wilson’s driving school] before the season starts.
“I want to exhaust everything I can do as a driver not just physically. It’s such a long off-season, longer than usual because of parts availability [aeroscreen] meaning testing got delayed.”
Andretti will be in good hands with Rob Wilson. This is a guy known for training some of the world’s best drivers across all disciplines: Kimi Räikkönen, Juan Pablo Montoya, Valtteri Bottas, and Petter Solberg have all benefitted from Wilson’s knowledge. And during Andretti’s first go at Bruntingthorpe, he and his engineer worked their way to a fifth place overall in the championship. If you’re still struggling to finish well a solid 15 years into your career, Wilson’s probably the only guy who can manage to get you there.
Whether it’s going to actually help Andretti remains to be seen, but it’s easily the best possible call he could make right now.