On whether Formula 1 can finally succeed in the United States at the Austin circuit:
I think it has the best chance with this plan. It is all about stability. The fan base has to be looking forward to it, not just, 'Maybe it will happen.' You have to have something solid, and then it begins a tradition. And we have been missing that. Since Watkins Glen, everything has been 'two races here, three races there.' But I think the fan base is good, it is good enough to support it. I have no question about that. They just have to have a home. It's not going to be: Put up a tent, have a show, take the tent down on Monday. And that's a big difference.
On what Austin has that some of the venues in the past didn't have, since Indianapolis was a permanent circuit, too:
Well, Indianapolis was a dual-purpose facility
. It just lacked the ambiance, and actually the track was not really a very good layout. There was a plan for the future to extend it, which would have improved it immensely, but it never came to fruition. I, too, thought that was going to be a natural base for it, but it didn't work out.
Now there is no other facility in our country that could be up to standard to host Formula 1. Austin will be the best by far, and the only road-racing facility that mirrors what the rest of the world has to offer. And it is about time. In the U.S., we really have fallen short of road-racing facilities that have kept up with the times - unfortunately, but it's a fact. This will be a masterpiece and we should be proud of it.
Yes, there is a lot of racing and a lot to choose from. But I think there is a uniqueness about Formula 1, the international aspect. I think it attracts Nascar fans. Every Nascar driver watches Formula 1 in the morning; they are well informed. I think there is a definite crossover, Nascar, IndyCar. The reaction I get from fans and so forth, I think they have an open mind and they are racers, period. Like I am. I love all motor sports at the top level. I love sports cars and I love MotoGP, I am all-encompassing.
On his greatest memory in motor sport:
I don't want to be facetious, but every victory is a great memory. No matter how fortunate you are and win races, you never win enough and they are always few and far between. And every victory is like the first one. I tell you, my housekeeper shines every victory trophy the same way - not one over the other - and that's the way it is in my heart.
On the idea of having another Andretti in Formula 1:
There is nothing I would like to see better than that. And I think Marco would fit the scene perfectly. He's a quick learner. I think the help of having something like this in the U.S., a base, and the need more than ever to have the U.S. represented as a driver. This could probably help the situation with sponsors, and encourage maybe some of the manufacturers here to have that type of presence. I am probably going to become a little more active in that area to try to pull some of these strings.
On how it has to be a winner:
I have said this before: It's got to be with a top team. And I don't mean just being there competing. You've got to be there with a chance to bring results. That's the only important aspect. Let's face it, Vince Lombardi said it all.
Obviously there is a pride. You know what it is to have your national anthem played in Argentina when you are on the podium? In Germany, in Japan? I was fortunate enough to win races on five continents and represent America. In Italy, they played the Italian national anthem and the U.S. national anthem. It puts things in a totally different perspective. Flying your own flag in the face of the international competition, that plays to another dimension. And that is what Formula One provides.
Probably enjoying its best moments. It's at a level that I have never seen before, and that is fabulous. It's got the sophistication beyond words. And it's a show you want to be here now. I don't think we could have written a script better than what the season is. You watch qualifying
and you have three or four manufacturers within less than a half a second. And the cars all look so different. Now is that a marvel of technology or what? I love Formula One the way it is today. I just wish I was born 30 years later.