He raced for Ferrari F1 from 1972, and his real breakthrough year came in 1975, when he set the fastest lap in the Spanish Grand Prix, then finished fourth in the Swedish Grand Prix and fifth in France. In 1976 he was no longer happy with his team and returned to Lotus, where he was again successful: He finished third in the Netherlands and won the Japanese Grand Prix, his first victory in five years. In 1977, Andretti’s new car, which he had helped to develop, led him to a couple of victories: he took the Grand Prix at Long Beach, the Spanish, French and Italian Grand Prix, but engine failures in mid-season prevented him from continuing his title challenge and he was relegated to third place. In 1978 he won the opening race in Argentina, then went he won five more Grand Prix (Belgium, Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands) and the title was so close to him when he arrived to Italy. He got the title finally by a tragedy: the death of his team-mate Ronnie Peterson in a start-line accident at Monza, giving Andretti an unassailable points lead. The 1979 F1 season was not as successful, but the 1980 season was even worst. He joined Alfa Romeo in 1981, but this F1 season was an another disaster.
In the same year he finished second in the Indianapolis 500, although the result is disputed. In 1982, when Enzo Ferrari asked him to be guest driver at the 1982 Italian Grand Prix in Monza, Andretti could not resist. At the pitch where he first caught F1 fever as a teenager, the 42-year-old Andretti qualified from pole in the Ferrari 126 Turbo and finished an impressive third.
His 128th and final Grand Prix was in Las Vegas.
Newman-Haas Racing, one of North America’s greatest racing teams, was formed in 1983 and Andretti played a major role in the team’s life in the years that followed. They competed in numerous races. In 1985, he took another second place in the Indianapolis 500. Andretti raced with his son, Michael. Michael became a real star, but when he switched to F1 in 1993, his vacant seat was taken by Nigel Mansell. Andretti set the fastest qualifying speed that year at Michigan International Speedway. He retired from Champ Cars at the end of the 1994 “Arrivederci Mario” season, having won 52 of his record 407 starts in the series.
Andretti was eager to add to his impressive life path by winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and went on to compete in the French classic four more times – his eighth and final appearance in 2000. The closest he came to victory was in 1995 when he finished second, less than a lap down.
He joined the Championship Auto Racing Teams’ board of directors in 2002. He has not become inactive in his old age. He operates his own petrol station chain and managing businesses in a number of other areas.
He currently lives in Pennsylvania.

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