Mario Andretti: 2014 IndyCar schedule could diminish the series

Mark Thompson

Mario Andretti does not agree with the current IndyCar scheduling policy that has condensed the 2014 schedule.

American racing legend Mario Andretti wasn't subtle over the weekend when criticizing the composition of IndyCar's newly-released schedule, saying that the condensed tour had the potential to diminish the series

IndyCar just completed a 19-race schedule that went from Mar. 24-Oct. 19 and ended with Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing as the season champion.

Things will change next year as Mark Miles (CEO of IndyCar parent company Hulman Motorsports) will consolidate the schedule into a five month period that will run uninterrupted from late March to late August.

In a recent interview conducted at the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix with Tony DiZinno, Andretti, a former F1 and Indy car champion, says that this isn't in IndyCar's best interest.

"A season schedule should not end in August. It's never happened before. You can't be worrying about ceding to college football or the NFL. You can't be taken seriously unless we're like F1 or NASCAR with the season going to November."

Andretti also doubts the possible "international series" will come to fruition. And if it does, it would be more of a slap in the face to IndyCar's regular season than a real boon.

"This ‘mini' international series is a real ‘pie in the sky' idea to appease the owners," Andretti said. "We can't have a ‘mini' series. What does that accomplish?"

The winter International tour is a conceived series of non-championship races in Asia and the Middle East designed to lessen the impact of the seven month off-season and generate revenue for the race teams.

In August, IndyCar president of operations and competition, Derrick Walker told Autosport that teams just have too much downtime under the current configuration.

"We have teams that from the end of September or October through to the start of the season in March don't have an awful lot to do; there is only so much testing you can do," the former the former CART and IndyCar team owner said. "Our teams need income and an international component to their season would help strengthen their financial position."

Since the announcement of the 2014 IndyCar Series schedule, there has been little talk publicly about the proposed international tour.

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