Vettel admits Melbourne will be a struggle

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Sebastian Vettel isn’t making excuses ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, as he expects Red Bull to struggle given the preseason testing woes.

“It became obvious at the first test that there was an issue as I spent more time in the pits than on the track,” Vettel explained, via a Q&A on the official Formula One website. “That is when you understand that you cannot turn a blind eye to the situation.”

There were some ruminations Vettel might be publicly unhappy with the situation, but with his resolve already being tested, the four-time defending World Champion has already taken on a mature stance.

“Just because we’ve done so exceptionally well in previous seasons it doesn’t mean that those seasons were a walk in the park,” he said. “Coming into this season we knew that there is no such thing as a guarantee on winning, so right now it is not that huge a shock for us as it might be for people on the outside.”

Finishing the race may be the ultimate goal, with anything more than that a bonus. Still, Vettel denied the opportunity to make any proclamations ahead of the weekend.

“We even don’t know the speed of the car,” he said. “In the tests we struggled with reliability so we have very little idea about the speed. This race will be about seeing where we are, so any expectation is difficult to say.”

Marco Andretti to drive throwback scheme to honor 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario’s last win

Photo courtesy Andretti-Herta Autosport
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Marco Andretti wanted to do something really special to honor the 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario Andretti’s final Indy car win in 1993 at Phoenix International Raceway (now known as ISM Raceway).

So the third-generation Andretti, along with his team, Andretti-Herta Autosport, came up with a plan and design that will take longtime race fans back in time when it appears early next month for the Phoenix Grand Prix.

Marco Andretti’s No. 98 Oberto Beef Jerky Circle K/Curb Honda will be decked out in the colors of the car his grandfather won his last race on the one-mile short track 25 years ago.

“When the idea of a throwback livery celebrating my grandfather’s final win was thrown around, Oberto was ready to get to the drawing board,” Marco Andretti said in a media release. “The black, white and red car resembles many of my family’s race cars and was a big part of my life growing up.

“It’s really cool to be able to add one of my cars to that family legacy.”

The car is a virtual double of the legendary Newman-Haas Racing and Texaco/Havoline-sponsored car Mario drove on that celebratory day in the Valley of the Sun 2 ½ decades ago.

Various events and ceremonies during the April 6-7 race weekend will honor the senior Andretti. That includes several of his former competitors who will be on hand to celebrate with Mario, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Rahal, Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracy, Arie Luyendyk, and of course, son Michael Andretti and grandson Marco Andretti.

Check out what happened on that day 25 years ago:

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