2020 Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter Marco Andretti has announced he will step back from a full-time NTT Indycar Series drive in 2021 as he looks to start a ‘new phase’ in his career.
Son of team owner and Indycar legend Michael Andretti, Marco will still be on the entry list for the 105th Indianapolis 500 come May and he will also take part in select Indycar events.
“Upon careful thought over the past couple of months, I have made the decision to make some changes to my racing activities and focus for 2021,” Andretti said. “I recently shared this decision and the changes that I want to make with my Dad and have spoken at length with him about it. I appreciate his openness and for allowing me the flexibility to map out my own course going forward.
“I am fortunate to be in a position at Andretti Autosport to run the full INDYCAR season if I want to. But, instead, I have decided to change up my direction somewhat – to reset – to do something a little different – look at everything fresh and see where that takes me. And, to me, now seems like the appropriate time to do that.
“I definitely am going to keep driving. I still have a deep passion for it and have unfinished business to take care of and some boxes that I want to check before I consider retiring as a driver.”
Andretti will still be a major part of his dad’s team going forward and he will be key to helping the full-time drivers maximise their results this season, the work for which begins with the pre-season test at Sebring next week.
The 33-year-old is looking towards endurance racing for his next career move with the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona and the Sebring 12 Hour on his hitlist where he hopes to race alongside Cousin Jarett Andretti in the IMSA Sportscar Series.
Michael Andretti said: “Marco and I have discussed this at length. I both support and respect his decision to take a focus on other areas of life, and maybe even other forms of motorsport. We were working on a full-season INDYCAR entry for him, but he decided he wanted to take a different direction, and I respect him for making that decision.
“I think for any multi-generational athlete, it can be really challenging to find your own ground and make your own name on top of your family’s. Marco has always had the courage to chart his own path, and I’m proud of the career he’s built for himself and the person he’s become. I know this decision wasn’t easy.
“But, like he has said, this is not retirement. He has some great accomplishments behind him, and I think he still has many more ahead of him. He’s offered to help us out with some testing, I’m looking forward to having him back with us for the ‘500,’ and hopefully maybe a few more races through the season.”
There is still one full-time seat left in the Andretti stable with Colton Herta, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi all confirmed.