Andretti Enjoys F1 Test
December 15, 2006 | 6:40 P.M. EST
Andretti turned 68 laps at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit with a best lap of 1 minute, 21.88 seconds, though an early session transponder error credited him with quicker times set by Honda Racing F1 test driver Christian Klein.
Andretti ended up 14th fastest among the drivers who tested, including two-time world champion Fernando Alonso and newcomer Lewis Hamilton for McLaren and Renault’s race drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen.
"First of all, I couldn’t have had more fun today and it’s a shame that it was only a day," the 19-year-old son of IndyCar Series team co-owner Michael Andretti said. "It took me a little while to get used to the traction control and the brakes, but once I got to grips with them, the times were more and more consistent. I would like to say a big thank you to the Honda Racing F1 team on how professional and welcoming they have been this week, and I’m sure that they will have a good season next year."
Andretti's outing at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain was a reward for his stunning rookie season in the Honda-powered IndyCar Series car, in which he finished runner-up in the Indianapolis 500 in May and became the youngest winner of a major open-wheel event when he won at Infineon Raceway in August.
"It’s been great to have Marco with the team and in the car today," Honda Racing F1 sporting director and 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran said. "He did a good job and acclimatized himself well to the unfamiliar surroundings in the very short time that a one-day test provides. Marco looked comfortable straightaway with the car and the track, and overall it was a good first experience in a Formula 1 car."