Herta: Andretti Autosport has taken “good step forward” for 2018

Bryan Herta says he believes Michael Andretti’s IndyCar team has made similar gains on the competition as it did in the previous off-season.

Herta: Andretti Autosport has taken “good step forward” for 2018
Bryan Herta, Andretti Autosport
Marco Andretti, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda, with Bryan Herta
Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport Honda
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport Honda
Marco Andretti, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda, Art St. Cyr, Bryan Herta and Michael Andretti
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport Honda, Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport Honda
Zach Veach, Andretti Autosport Honda
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport Honda, Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport Honda
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport Honda, Marco Andretti, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda

Aside from a strong showing – and victory – for the squad at Indianapolis 500, 2016 saw the team score just five other podium finishes between four drivers, while in championship points, only Carlos Munoz scraped into the top 10. Last year, wins at Indy (Takuma Sato) and Watkins Glen (Alexander Rossi) were supplemented by five more top-three finishes, but significantly three Andretti drivers finished in the top 10 end-of-year standings.

Herta, who co-owns and calls strategy for the #98 Andretti-Herta Autosport entry – this year driven by Marco Andretti – told Motorsport.com: “Things are going well right now. I think we’ve made a similar step to the one we made last off-season.

“We went through a lot of stuff [at Phoenix’s two-day Open Test] and got some decent running in traffic at the end, which was useful.

“We haven’t been to a proper road course – just Sebring, which is only good for testing certain things. But whatever it's worth, we were quick there, and I think the team has taken a really good step forward. Now it’s up to us to take advantage of that.”

The four-car squad of Rossi, Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay and rookie Zach Veach turned a total of 1048 laps at Phoenix's 1.022-mile ISM Raceway, with Andretti emerging fastest, in sixth place. The third-generation IndyCar racer said he preferred the improved feel provided by the new-for-2018 universal aerokit which has much less downforce than the manufacturer kits of the last three years.

Andretti told reporters over the weekend: “I really struggled with the aerokit car. You were either slammed with downforce or it snapped. With this thing, it’s on the edge the entire time [but] there's some predictability, you feel it more. If I had to pick one, I would prefer this.”

Later, Herta confirmed his driver is indeed feeling more confident with the new cars.

“I think he is a lot more happy,” said Herta. “This car is closer in concept to the original DW12, and he came fifth in the championship in 2013, so I think he’s encouraged that this car gives him a similar feeling to that car.”

Herta also played down the complaints emanating from rival squads, and from some AA team members, regarding the amount of testing time they have been granted relative to those involved in manufacturer testing – Penske and Carpenter for Chevrolet, Schmidt Peterson and Rahal Letterman Lanigan for Honda.

“It was concerning at the time, but I don’t think it has put us at a big disadvantage,” said Herta. “That’s because our team did such a good job on the things they could work on, things like aero simulation work. So when we hit the track their work was verified and we were quick right away, at Sebring and Phoenix.”

shares
comments
Kaiser “exceeded expectations” says Juncos after IndyCar test

Previous article

Kaiser “exceeded expectations” says Juncos after IndyCar test

Next article

IndyCar windscreen "unlikely" to be implemented this year

IndyCar windscreen "unlikely" to be implemented this year
Load comments
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021
IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet Prime

IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet

The ace 20-somethings in IndyCar have risen to become title contenders, but the best of the series veterans are digging deep and responding – and will continue to do so over the next couple of years, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021