I’ve been thinking about the whole Marco v Danica frank discussion that happened post Texas.
Having seen it first hand, I was sitting on the outside at the entry to Turn 1. It seemed obvious to me that Danica was blocking. Brian Barnhart, after about 5 laps, and quite rightly, gave her a warning to not change lanes mid-corner, and by following the instruction from Barnhart to avoid penalty, that allow Marco to overtake on the inside or the outside, which he eventually did.
Should Danica have been a bit more friendly to Marco? Well, probably.
Should we care if they have a little heated debate about it after the race and read much into it? Probably not.
People tend not to take into account the number of driver interpersonal relationships in a team when making assessments on which teams have the most “harmony”.
Take a look at this simple mathematical analysis, which I believe isn’t generally considered by the Indycar media and public:
- A one driver team, such as Luczo Dragon Racing, has zero interpersonal driver relationships to manage. At this point, if Rafa is arguing on pit lane with another driver, it isn’t with a teammate.
- A two driver team, such as Chip Ganassi Racing has one interpersonal driver relationship to manage. There’s the one between Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti, and that is it.
- A three driver team, such as Team Penske is sometimes these days, only has three relationships to manage. There’s the Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves relationship, the Will Power and Briscoe relationship, and the Castroneves and Power relationship.
But when you expand a team to four drivers, such as the situation at AGR, the number of interpersonal relationships expand exponentially. You how have six: Danica Patrick and Tony Kanaan, Danica and Marco Andretti, Danica and Hideki Mutoh, Tony/Marco, Tony/Hideki, and Hideki/Marco.
So the reality is, it makes sense that AGR would have more “disagreements” than any other team, because they have six times the number of relationships to manage than say, Chip Ganassi Racing.
In fact, when you look at the results from Texas last week, you find that the AGR 46% of the total number of inter-team driver relationships to manage in the entire field (Penske 1, Ganassi 1, AGR 6, Panther 0, Vision 1, Newman Haas Lanigan 1, Luczo Dragon 0, Conquest 0, Coyne 0, Fisher 0, Team 3G 0, Dreyer and Reinbold 3, Foyt 0, HVM 0).
So with 46% of total relationships, it makes sense that 46% of the total hissy fits between teammates are going to come from Andretti Green.
Granted, this combination tends not to have the relative harmony in the Dario/Wheldon/Kanaan/Herta relationship, but my opinion is that a lot more is made of it than what it is.
So while a little post race public debate gives everybody something to talk about, especially when it involves Danica, we statisticially shouldn’t really be surprised when the team that is involved in a interteam driver ruckus is Andretti Green Racing.