By 1973, we had a great Indy car team and had won 53 Indy car races. As a result, Firestone, who was a major sponsor for us, wanted us to enter Formula One with Mario Andretti as our driver. So we went over to England and hired Maurice Philippe, the designer for Lotus, and we also hired some other really good people from over there and brought them here to California and built our Formula One car here in the U.S. In reality, our car is one of the only Formula One cars to be totally built in the U.S., dating all the way back to just after the turn of the century.
We changed the whole way that they were thinking about building Formula One cars because we were close to the aircraft industry here in Southern California, so we had access to better metals and processes, etc. In fact, I know when we ran over there, we’d build parts here and send them over there and they’d bolt right on the car and they wouldn’t have to change anything; whereas most teams were building everything by hand and two pieces were not always the same.
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