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Andretti ‘grateful’ for poor weather 09 Feb 2007

Marco Andretti (USA) Honda RA107 Formula One Testing, Day Three, Jerez, Spain, 8 February 2007. World © Bumstead/Sutton Marco Andretti (USA) Honda RA107 Formula One Testing, Day Three, Jerez, Spain, 8 February 2007. World © Bumstead/Sutton Marco Andretti (USA) Honda RA107. Formula One Testing, Day Two, Jerez, Spain, 7 February 2007. World © Patching/Sutton Mario Andretti (USA) Marco Andretti (USA) Honda RA107 and Michael Andretti (USA) Formula One Testing, Day Two, Jerez, Spain, 7 February 2007. World © Bumstead/Sutton Marco Andretti (USA) Honda RA107 Formula One Testing, Day Two, Jerez, Spain, 7 February 2007. World © Bumstead/Sutton

IndyCar driver Marco Andretti took advantage of the tricky conditions at a wet Jerez track this week to gain the maximum experience from his second Formula One test with Honda. A delighted Andretti covered just under 140 laps of the Spanish circuit during the two-day session in the team’s 2006 car, the RA106.

“I have really enjoyed my two days here, and by the end of the second day with the wet conditions, I feel that I’ve really adapted to the way that the car has to be driven,” enthused the young American. “So the weather was actually quite useful for me and I’ve now experienced a little bit of everything. I was happy with my long run pace over the test but the one lap times are something that I am sure would come with further time in the car.”

Andretti first tested for Honda last December, as a reward for his achievements in the Honda-powered IndyCar Series, and after an impressive debut was invited back for a more comprehensive programme. This week the 19 year-old has completed data-gathering exercises and several race start simulations, coping admirably with the changeable conditions.

“It has been a pleasure to have Marco with us this week and to give him a further opportunity in the 2006 car,” said the Honda team’s engineering director, Jacky Eeckelaert. “Once again Marco has shown a high level of ability, given his relative inexperience, and his long run pace in particular was quite impressive. With the poor weather conditions, Marco drove for the first time in the wet and adapted very well to the difficult track conditions without making any mistakes.”

Andretti, who will continue to race in the United States this season, was watched from the Honda garage by his father, former McLaren driver Michael Andretti, and his grandfather, 1978 world champion Mario Andretti.