Michael Andretti claims he was a match for team mate Ayrton Senna during his short Formula One spell with McLaren in 1993... Taking the world of IndyCar racing by storm over in the United States back in the late 80's and early 90's, Michael Andretti looked to have the motor racing world at his feet when he secured the 1991 PPG IndyCar Series championship for Newman Haas Racing. Success in the top category of American motorsport would lead the often controversial American to try his hand in Formula One racing for the '93 season at a regrouping McLaren team, the then 30-year-old keen to show the rest of the world that he can stack up against his international racing colleagues on the world stage. Unfortunately for Michael, continuing the Andretti legacy would prove much harder than anyone imagined, eventually leaving both parties to head their separate ways just 11 races into that first season together, something that Andretti admits 25 years later made him the person he has become today: “I grew up a lot that year, I learned a lot about people. So in terms of experience, it made me a better person, a stronger person. So I try to not look at it as negative, it’s part of life. Everybody’s going to have stuff like that. It made me a better person at reading things, reading people.” Having left Formula One early and with a reputation damaged by his time in the sport, Andretti would return to the American CART series and achieve further success, however the now 55-year-old still believes he had the pace, if not the experience, to match his legendary team mate at McLaren: “I knew I was capable of being on the podium in a lot of the races. In many of them, stupid things were happening that were unexplainable, so it was very frustrating, really disappointing. But that’s life" said Andretti in a recent McLaren interview. “I was always quick, I was always right there with Ayrton in testing, and it’s not like Ayrton was running slow.” "He was amazing. He knew what the cars could do, but I was still learning the limits of them. We’d both be there until late at night.” “With the active car you’d dissect every corner, and you could make the car do whatever you want. ‘If you can drop the front here as I turn in and then have it raise as I leave.’ There were so many things you could do. I felt that given another year I was going to be right on par with the best of them.” “Ayrton was awesome, we became very good friends. Everybody knew he was a special guy. To tell you what kind of guy he was, the next race was Portugal, he had a press conference and said how unfairly I was treated, and I was one of his best teammates ever. He was really behind me, and saw what happened.” “He knew how quick I was when we were running in testing, so he knew what was going on. It was cool of him to do that. He was the first one to call me when I won the Australian IndyCar race, he stayed up all night to watch it in Brazil. We would have been very close had the tragedy not happened.” Andretti never did make his mark in international motorsports, however thanks to a sterling career across the pond, and one of the most recognisable surnames in racing, you have to take anything that is said by the now IndyCar team owner with plenty of respect. Even if the on track product from his time at McLaren didn't quite go how the driver expected, maybe a too hasty decision from McLaren could have potentially robbed Formula One of the opportunity to finally have a truly top level American driver in the sport for the first time in the modern era? Murray Walker had it spot on when he said F1 is if spelt backwards... if only 1993 would have turned out differently... You can read the full McLaren / Andretti interview HERE. Check out the Formula One sub forum here at RaceDepartment for more from the top level of open wheel motorsport. Like what you see here at RaceDepartment? Don't forget to like, subscribe and follow us on social media! Instagram Twitter Facebook Youtube Twitch Do you agree with Andretti's comments? Could the American have won races had he stayed in the sport for longer in your opinion? Let us know in the comments section below!