NTT IndyCar Series

Michael Andretti on Marco – “I think in the end it was a smart decision.”

By: Ashley McCubbin

After competing full-time in the NTT IndyCar Series for the past 15 years, Marco Andretti announced he would be scaling back his effort in 2021, set to only run the Indianapolis 500 and possibly a few other events.

“I was completely behind him on his decision,” his father and car owner Michael Andretti said. “I respected it. That’s not to say he’s not going to be back full-time again in INDYCAR in the future. But I think right now, for what he needed for his head and everything, I think in the end it was a smart decision on his part, mature decision. We’ll see what happens. I totally respected his decision and was behind him.”

While he has two victories under his belt through his career, there’s no denying the past five years have been a struggle for the third-generation racer, with only one placing inside the top-10 of the final standings. Perhaps what’s stings more is his last victory came back in 2011, with no podiums in the last five years.

Michael admits discussions about 2021 were “an interesting time,” with him and the team throwing the idea out to Marco about running Indy only and few others.

“I think when we put that out to him, he started thinking about, ‘You know what, this time in my career, where I am, maybe it’s time for me to try some other things as well, just focus mainly on Indy because that’s the big one he still wants to win,'” Michael said. “He knows deep down inside that he can still win it.”

While Mario Andretti was regarded as one of the best drivers in open-wheel history, Michael was unable to repeat the feat, only winning the CART Series Championship on one occasion to go with 42 wins in 309 races. However, he has been since cemented his story in the sport as a team owner, with championships and Indianapolis 500 victories under his banner.

When asked whether Marco could begin to follow a similar route this year and be part of organizational decisions, Michael said that was probably not in the cards this year.

“There probably won’t be a lot of that,” he commented. “I don’t think we’ll see him a lot at the INDYCAR races. He’s going to be doing a lot of other stuff, which is part of the reason why he took this decision. He thinks it’s a great opportunity to see what it’s like to drive different types of racecars and things like that.”

Despite his son stepping aside, Michael will have a full deck in IndyCar with Ryan Hunter-Reay, Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi, and James Hinchcliffe all running full-time for his team.

“Obviously having four instead of five can make it a little bit easier in terms of focus, for sure,” he commetned. “Yeah, we’re real happy with the way things have gone. We’re real happy with our driver lineup. I think we have four great full-timers that are going to help each other to hopefully have four of them fighting at the end of the year for the championship. That’s our goal. We’ll have to wait and see.

“I’m real happy with the way it all came together. Can’t wait to get to the first race and see how we go.”


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