Mario Andretti has revealed his ambition to convince Max Verstappen to compete in the iconic Indy 500, but only when the Dutchman has won eight Formula 1 world titles.
The Indy 500 is an annual 500-mile showdown held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the United States, most recently won by Josef Newgarden in a hugely dramatic last-lap shootout that drew comparisons to Verstappen‘s controversial 2021 F1 title against Lewis Hamilton.
Andretti, 83, is one of the most famous names in motorsport and won the marathon Indy 500 race in 1969, before clinching the F1 drivers’ championship in 1982.
The Italian-born American remains the only driver to have achieved that rare double, but wants Verstappen, already a two-time F1 world champion, to follow in his footsteps.
“One of these days I will talk to Max Verstappen to tell him, after he has won eight world championships, to come here [to America] and win the Indy 500,” he said.
“I will convince him.”
When will Verstappen leave F1?
Verstappen has already admitted he is unsure whether he will remain in F1 beyond the end of his current Red Bull contract, which expires in 2028 when he will be 31 years old.
That means the Dutchman will likely have to extend his stay in the sport if he is to win eight world championships and eclipse the record currently held by Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.
Verstappen told Sky Sports F1 at the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix: “I know that I will be 31 when it’s the end of my contract. At that point already I will have been in F1 a very long time and it’s a lot of work.
“It’s travelling a lot, not only the races but in between you’re travelling to the factory, you have marketing commitments and I’m really a person who loves to be at home.
“I like to be competitive, and I like to win but if you can’t fully motivate yourself to get to every race, then that’s the point you have to question yourself, ‘Do you really want to continue?'”