Andretti team seeks answers after lamentable Long Beach performance

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Andretti team seeks answers after lamentable Long Beach performance
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Apr 18, 2016, 2:26 AM

Andretti Autosport team manager Rob Edwards says the Michael Andretti-owned team urgently needs to improve its mechanical grip for the remaining street races.

Carlos Munoz, Andretti Autosport Honda
Rob Edwards, Andretti Autosport
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport Honda
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport Honda

Carlos Munoz finished as top Andretti driver in the 42nd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, taking 12th place while his teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Alexander Rossi were classified 18th, 19th and 20th respectively

Edwards told Motorsport.com: “Alex stalled in the pits but was OK pace-wise. Marco had an electrical issue that cut his engine on the first lap, Carlos was trying to stretch his fuel mileage…

“But the simple truth is that we weren’t where we needed to be all weekend. We were always chasing setups.”

Edwards also admitted the problem was team specific, rather than a Honda issue, as Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, AJ Foyt Racing and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing had shone at various points during the weekend.

“Hinchcliffe, Sato, Rahal were all fast at times, but we were never at that level. It was a struggle. And it’s a mechanical grip issue. I don’t think it’s aero.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay who started 11th, faded away from the top eight after switching to the primary tires at his first stop – nor had he been happy on the alternates.

The 2012 IndyCar champion, who traditionally excels at Long Beach, said afterward: ““We really missed it this weekend – in a big way. We have a ride compliance issue where we just don’t have enough grip. In the race I found myself just racing myself.

“Trying to keep the car off the wall, that was the main exercise all day.”  

Marco Andretti concurred with his teammate, simply describing his car as "horrible."

Different from 2015 struggles

Edwards denied the theory that Andretti Autosport has struggled with mechanical grip ever since the aero kits were introduced last year.

The speculation was that as HPD’s “chosen” team, developing the Wirth Research-designed kit had turned too much of the team’s attention to aerodynamic development as opposed to improving mechanical setups.

However, Edwards says that while that was possibly true in 2015, the team had taken measures to eliminate that issue this year.

“This time last year we were all applying band-aids to a basic problem with Honda’s aero kit,” he said, “and maybe that took too much of our effort away from mechanical development.

“But we made a great effort in the off-season to make sure we didn’t take our eye off the ball on the mechanical side of things, even while we were learning the 2016 aero kits.”

Edwards stated that he expected the team to make a better showing at Barber Motorsports Park, where Hunter-Reay and Andretti scored a 1-2 in 2014.

“Yeah, our test there went reasonably well, I’d say. But the opposition seem to be able to turn it up when they need.”

 

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