Thanks a lot for sharing this with me @Arsenal4thetreble that was a really intriguing read. You say you were only 10 at the time, but I was only 6 I wasn’t watching F1 in 1993, it started following it about a year or two later. But I’ve seen season highlights of that year as well as some documentaries so I have a decent idea of Andretti’s year at Mclaren.
I do think it was naive of Michael to base himself in the States during the season, even if he had the benefit of Concorde. Practically every driver bases themselves in Europe. Obviously Australia is a lot further away than USA but Ricciardo is based in Europe. Casey Stoner the MotoGP rider moved from Australia to England with his family to come racing in Europe. Just being based on another continent doesn’t make things easy.
He says about the pace difference in tests and the races, but in testing, you’re looking to do specific things with the car, rather than out and out lap time. Senna may’ve not been too bothered setting really fast times but who knows. Racing is a different kettle of fish from Qualifying.
I can agree the limit on practice laps would’ve hindered anyone but even then Mclaren despite a bog standard Cosworth engine is still an easy top 4 car that year. The gaps around then were much larger than today. Not every team had or bothered to develop active suspension and it was worth a lot of time. Same as traction control. Some teams didn’t even have the semi automatic gear panels still and used a normal shifter!
One thing I can definately understand though is his frustration with Ron Dennis. Ron is a very complicated man. He made Mclaren what it is, he has a massive passion for racing and winning. But his unusual obsessive personality rubbed people up the wrong way and many drivers who have worked for him have mentioned he’s not an easy person to work with, he’s a controlling guy, who portrays a certain image. He has his favourites, even if he may not say it. Not sure if you’ve ever seen this, but here’s a clip of him talking to Schumacher at an event at the end of 1993. He was pretty keen to snap Michael up. But his way of words didn’t go down too well.
In any case, I think Andretti was kinda doomed from the start. Having a backup driver like Hakkinen was always going to be tough. Mika was the new line of young drivers who was very fast. First race after Andretti left, Hakkinen outqualified Senna, much to the displeasure of the Brazilian. And of course Mika went on to achieve much success in F1 later on with wins and titles.
Ultimately, I can see some of the arguments and points Andretti makes, but regardless, he got involved in too many incidents and didn’t really improve much during the year. Shame really as he was a great CART driver and I remember well his Newman-Haas days in that Black car Perhaps if he’d been with another team and had a second year, he might’ve done better. But sounds like to me he was just simply more suited to the States.
Anyways, I’ve rambled on enough Hope you find my musings useful.