By Max Davies, F1 correspondent
Mario Andretti says his grandson is only American driver worthy of F1 drive
Marco Andretti is the only North American driver with enough talent to succeed in Formula One - so says the 25 year-old's grandfather, motor racing legend Mario Andretti.
The 1978 Formula 1 world champion believes that with the return of a US Grand Prix to the calendar in 2012, the time would be perfect for motor sports most successful teams to evaluate the one-time IndyCar Series winner who enjoyed a strong performance during a one-off test for Honda's Formula One four years ago.
"I wish there was a clearer picture and a host of young drivers to choose from but at the moment I just don't see any candidates worthy of stepping into grand prix racing other than Marco," the three time CART indy car champion declared. "I would just love to be able to see him be given an opportunity to run in a proper test again after his strong showing at Jerez back in 2007 in the Honda."
The 71-year old is convinced that the new circuit - based in Austin, Texas - will provide the sport with a tremendous marketing opportunity and that the value of it merits providing his grandson the opportunity to test a contemporary Formula 1 car. The last Formula One race was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2007.
"There's always been a reason for having a North American driver in Formula 1 and these are important markets for the sport to exploit," the 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner said. "Being able to groom some young lad that really wants to be there and do it is what it's all about. If they give him (Marco) the time in the car and provide him a proper evaluation, then it would be good for America and for F1."