Michael Andretti is painfully aware of the time and distance that stands between today and his NTT IndyCar Series team’s last championship victory.
Andretti Autosport has established itself as an enduring annual threat to win the Indianapolis 500, and there’s no denying the importance and impact its success at the Speedway in 2005, 2007, 2014, 2016, and 2017 has had on the organization. There’s also no denying the presence of a 10-year gap in IndyCar titles, with the last coming in 2012 with Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi and Romain Grosjean, three of Andretti’s four current drivers, give the team owner a strong chance to break the winless streak as rookie Devlin DeFrancesco spends the season learning from the established stars. Rather than ask his three lead drivers to chase brazen wins at every opportunity, Andretti’s hoping a different approach to the season will have Herta, Rossi, or Grosjean hoisting the Astor Cup by the time we close the year at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
“That’s our hope,” Andretti told RACER. “Because you know, we just we can’t keep beating ourselves. The whole theme of the year is: No mistakes. Just go out, and on a day that you can only get a fifth, take the fifth. If fifth is all the car’s got, don’t be pushing yourselves, screw up, make a mistake, and throw away good points. We’ve got to be smarter about this stuff.”
Andretti’s message for the upcoming season is aimed at the entire organization.
“I’m talking about not just the drivers, but also the crew, the engineers, the strategists, and everybody,” he continued. “We’ve just got to be consistent and not hurt ourselves. We have cars that are capable of running up front everywhere, and we have drivers that can do it. We’ve just got to execute.”