Mario Andretti believes F1 has found a “fixed home” for the United States GP.
Over the years Formula One has struggled to find a permanent home in America with the last US GP held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from 2000 to 2007. The race, though, was dropped when the Indy organisers failed to reach a new agreement with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
Five years later Formula One is back in America, this time at the newly-constructed Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
And one man who is proud of the new track is Andretti, the 1978 F1 World Champion.
“When I saw the place in June I had my doubts about this ever going ahead,” the 72-year-old told 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. 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.”
As for plans to Formula One to race through the streets of New Jersey, a deal that has been postponed by at least a year from 2013 to 2014, Andretti said: “Can you imagine New York as the backdrop?
“It could be fantastic. But right now Austin is all we’re thinking about.”