Michael Andretti, Ayrton Senna’s abortive McLaren teammate in 1993, arrived at the Jerez circuit on Thursday to prepare for his son’s F1 test debut.
Impressive Indycar rookie Marco Andretti, 19, will test for Honda on Friday, and while team chiefs have played down the significance of his debut, Nick Fry said yesterday: “Clearly if he enjoys himself and we think there’s a spark there, there’s the opportunity to do more.”
Andretti was also spotted behind the spectator fences at the Spanish test venue in conversation with Honda’s sporting director Gil de Ferran, who retains close ties with the American race scene.
As one F1 career blossoms this week, another ends — 40-year-old veteran Olivier Panis completed just 27 laps as he tested for the last time.
The Toyota driver picked up a cold while ice racing last week and had to stop early. “I did not feel good today,” the Frenchman said.
As the Cologne based team started its three day session alone on Tuesday, it now departs Jerez to leave nine teams in action on Friday.
Another Frenchman, Champ Car star Sebastien Bourdais, matched the pace of Toro Rosso’s 2006 lineup Vitantonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed on his second day at the wheel.
He drives again on Friday.