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First Barcelona F1 pre-season test: All posts, one place

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The Formula 1 paddock come together for the first time in 2016 earlier this week in Barcelona as pre-season testing got underway.

All but one team arrived at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with a new car for 2016, lifting the covers off in the pit lane before running began on Monday.

Although it is only testing, there were plenty of pointers to be taken out of the four days of running ahead of the first race of the year in Australia on March 20.

Find below all of the posts from Barcelona and coming out of the test on MotorSportsTalk over the past week.

MONDAY 2/22

Red Bull releases first pictures of 2016 RB12 F1 car
Sauber reveals 2016 F1 livery, announces new sponsor
New Renault R.S.16 unveiled in testing livery in Barcelona
Force India presents 2016 F1 car, the VJM09
Toro Rosso STR11 breaks cover in blue testing livery
New Manor Racing F1 car hits the track in Barcelona
Vettel leads, Haas debuts in morning session at Barcelona
Hamilton tests new Mercedes at F1 preseason tests in Spain
In closed cockpit debate, Hulkenberg says “it should be open”
Vettel leads, Hamilton banks 150-plus laps on Barcelona day one
Grosjean, Haas F1 Team happy after first day in Barcelona
F1 to consider reversing the grid to promote better races
Barcelona roundup: Notes, quotes from day one of 2016 F1 testing

TUESDAY 2/23

Honda replaces motorsport chief Yasuhisa Arai
Stefano Domenicali named new Lamborghini President/CEO
Gene Haas: Reliability key to success in debut F1 season
Sebastian Vettel quickest again on day two of Barcelona F1 test
Esteban Gutierrez: New Haas F1 car above expectations
F1 qualifying set for radical overhaul, adding quickfire eliminations
McLaren puts in overtime during Barcelona test to get things right for season
Component failure cuts short second day of testing for Renault’s Palmer

WEDNESDAY 2/24

FIA confirms new F1 qualifying system, postpones new technical regulation decision
Hulkenberg leads third day of Barcelona F1 test as Haas finishes P2
Gene Haas downplays irony of Ford vs. Ferrari in his NASCAR, F1 teams

THURSDAY 2/25

Romain Grosjean predicting continued struggles for Renault in 2016
Gene Haas aiming to attend half the F1 races in 2016
Fernando Alonso dismisses latest round of F1 quit rumors
Raikkonen ends Barcelona test on top as McLaren hits trouble
Stoffel Vandoorne sets sights on 2017 McLaren F1 seat
Steiner elated with ‘fantastic’ test debut for Haas F1 Team
Fernando Alonso limited to just three laps on Thursday in Barcelona
Lewis Hamilton: First Mercedes 2016 F1 test “the best I’ve ever seen”
Renault bounces back as Magnussen racks up the laps in Barcelona

FRIDAY 2/26

Nationalism not key to Gene Haas in Formula 1
Grosjean: Racing for Ferrari a dream, but Haas the focus right now
Mercedes’ first 2016 F1 test display was an ominous sign of things to come
Fernando Alonso: Mercedes stronger than ever in Formula 1
Hamilton, Grosjean doubt new F1 qualifying format will change much

SATURDAY 2/27

Ecclestone: New F1 qualifying format introduction delayed
Lewis Hamilton slams ‘ridiculous’ Formula 1 car weight
Gene Haas unconcerned about lack of sponsors on F1 car
Kevin Magnussen: Renault needs time to return to full strength
Hembery: Opening 2016 F1 test as expected for Pirelli

Mario Andretti says Colton Herta could be next American star in F1

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Mario Andretti’s last Formula One victory is also the last by an American driver in more than 42 years on the international open-wheel road racing series.

If you had told Andretti that while he was celebrating on the Grand Prix of the Netherlands podium on Aug. 27, 1978 at the Vandzoort circuit, he wouldn’t have believed it.

“Absolutely not,” Andretti told Kyle Petty during the most recent “Coffee With Kyle” episode (video above). “It’s a shame. Somehow we have so much talent here, and either there’s no invitation or something there. But I think it’s time to give some of this young talent that, in my opinion, is absolutely capable.”

The Dutch GP was the last of Andretti’s 12 victories in F1 and came during his championship season. No one since has come close to matching his success in F1.

Mario Andretti drives his Lotus-Ford to victory in the 1978 Grand Prix of the Netherlands (Bernard Cahier/Getty Images).

Andretti’s son, Michael, took a full-time ride with McLaren in 1993 but left with three races remaining in a season marred by crashes and mechanical problems.

Scott Speed was the last American to run a full F1 season in 2006, and Alexander Rossi made the most recent F1 start by a U.S. driver in 2015. Rossi has said he has no desire to return to racing in Europe after winning the 2016 Indianapolis 500 and becoming an IndyCar championship contender.

But Mario Andretti believes Andretti Autosport has another rising star with F1-caliber ability.

“Colton Herta is one that comes to mind,” Mario Andretti said. “As a young lad, his dad sent him to Europe, he was doing Formula 3, and he knows most of the circuits there. He’s trained. He’s showed in his rookie season and won some premium races at COTA (and Laguna Seca), beat two of the very best Indy has to offer (in) Will Power and Scott Dixon.

“This is one kid I’d love to see him get a break over there to fly the U.S. colors again.”

Herta, 20, seems interested in exploring an F1 leap over the next few years. After winning Sept. 13 at Mid-Ohio from the pole position (his third career victory in the NTT IndyCar Series), the No. 88 Dallara-Honda driver is ranked fourth in the standings in his sophomore year and regarded as one of the series’ top prospects.

Herta recently told RACER.com “I’d love to give Formula 1 a crack” but said he also would be happy driving in IndyCar and IMSA.

A naturalized U.S. citizen who told Petty about spending several years with his family in an Italian refugee camp before coming to America, Mario Andretti said F1 brought an enormous sense of patriotic pride.

“Formula One is like the Olympics in a sense,” he said. “You’re in a different country, a different continent. When you earn that highest step of the podium, they play your national anthem. That’s when you take nothing for granted. You feel like I’m representing my country, and the proudest moments are those.

“I’d just like to see some other American drivers experience that. It’s time.”

Mario Andretti with four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton before the Nov. 22, 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).

During the “Coffee With Kyle” conversation, Andretti also discussed:

–His versatility as a winner in IndyCar, sports cars, NASCAR and Formula One;

–His 1967 Daytona 500 victory and how he enjoyed racing with crew chief Jake Elder at the famed Holman-Moody team;

Mario Andretti Colton Herta
Mario Andretti and Kyle Petty saluted “The King” by wearing their Richard Petty-style hats during the latest “Coffee With Kyle” (NBCSN).

–Why he delayed his entry to F1 for a few years because of his earnings power in IndyCar. “I always say I’d race for free, but at the same time, you’re thinking of family and the future,” he said. “It was in the back of your mind that you can’t give up the earning power of IndyCar. That kept me from going full time in Formula One, but I always said that sometime in my career, I’d have to devote a period to Formula One.”

–On what it was like racing in an era when driver deaths were more prevalent. “If you’re going to do this, you’re not going to dwell on those negatives,” Andretti said. “There’s no way. You knew it was present. Especially in the ‘60s at the beginning of the season at the drivers meetings, you couldn’t help but look around and say, ‘I wonder who is not going to be here at the end of the season.’ We’d lose four to five guys. In ’64, we lost six guys.

“It’s something if you dwell on that, you’re going to take on a different profession. It’s a desire and love to want to drive that overcame all that and then the confidence it’s not going to happen to me. And then you pray.”

Watch the full “Coffee With Kyle” episode in the video above or by clicking here.

Mario Andretti looks on before the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on May 26, 2019 (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).