Mario Andretti is confident the inaugural US Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas will be a success.
F1 will return to the United States of America for the first time in five years this weekend and the purpose-built facility at Austin, Texas has already been hailed. Indeed Andretti believes the event will thrive in future years, although given he is an official ambassador for the CotA, that isn't really surprising.
“Look, 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 told British newspaper, The Observer
“When I saw this place [the CotA] in June I had my doubts about this ever going ahead [too],” added the 1978 F1 world champion.
“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. 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.”
Meanwhile, Andretti is also enthusiastic about plans for a second US GP in New Jersey, even if that event has been postponed until 2014.
“Can you imagine New York as the backdrop? It could be fantastic. But right now Austin is all we're thinking about...” concluded the American racing legend, who has amassed over 100 wins in major series such as F1, IndyCar, NASCAR and sportscars.