Mario Andretti

Mario Andretti is widely regarded as the greatest American F1 driver of all time, and one of the most versatile and successful drivers in motorsport history.

He achieved his lifelong dream of becoming F1 world champion in 1978, driving for Lotus, and also won races for Ferrari, March, and Williams. He is the only driver to have won the F1 world championship, the Indy 500, and the Daytona 500.

Mario Andretti: Lotus

Mario Andretti: Lotus

Andretti’s F1 career began in 1968, when he made his debut for Lotus at the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. He qualified on pole position, but retired with a clutch failure.

Mario Andretti: Ferrari

He continued to race part-time in F1 for the next few years, while also competing in IndyCar and other series. Mario scored his first F1 win in 1971, driving for Ferrari at the South African Grand Prix.

He also won the Italian Grand Prix that year, becoming a hero to the tifosi.

Mario Andretti: Parnelli

In 1975, Andretti joined Parnelli, an American team that entered F1 with a Cosworth-powered car. He scored two podiums and finished eighth in the championship.

Mario Andretti: Back To Lotus

However, the team withdrew from F1 after 1976, and Andretti moved to Lotus, where he formed a strong partnership with team boss Colin Chapman. Lotus was developing a revolutionary car with ground effect technology, which gave it superior aerodynamic grip and speed.

Andretti dominated the 1978 season with the Lotus 79, winning six races and securing the world championship with one race to spare.

He became the first and only American driver to win the F1 title on merit, and also helped Lotus win the constructors’ championship. His main rival was his teammate Ronnie Peterson, who tragically died in a crash at the Italian Grand Prix.

Andretti stayed with Lotus until 1980, but the team’s performance declined as other teams caught up with the ground effect concept.

Mario Andretti: Alfa Romeo

He also had a brief stint with Alfa Romeo in 1981, but scored only one point.

Mario Andretti: Williams

He joined Williams in 1982, where he replaced Carlos Reutemann, who had retired after the first race of the season.

Andretti scored his last podium at Long Beach, and his last win at Zandvoort, where he inherited victory after his teammate Keke Rosberg was penalized for a jump start.

Andretti retired from F1 at the end of 1982, having won 12 races and scored 19 poles in 128 starts.


Mario Andretti - Indy car

He continued to race in IndyCar until 1994, winning his fourth title in 1984 and his last race in 1993. He also raced in sports cars, winning the Sebring 12 Hours three times and the Le Mans 24 Hours once.

Andretti Is Bidding to Enter a New F1 Team in 2026

Father and son Mario and Michael Andretti are actively trying to form a new F1 team which they hope will join the grid 2026. Will the Andretti F1 team Join be successful? Only time will tell.



By Jonny Noble

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Jonny Noble I’m a dedicated F1 Writer – and I’ve Been One for Over Four Decades, I’ve been intimately immersed in the world of Formula One for more than 44 years. That’s longer than most professional commentators can boast! As an independent writer, I offer a unique perspective on the entire F1 landscape, free from biases that might cloud the discussion. We dive deep into the exhilarating, frustrating, and captivating facets of the F1 universe. So, regardless of my amateur status, one thing is undeniable: four decades of dedicated F1 fandom have forged strong opinions worth exploring!