The third-gen driver has scored two wins since making his IndyCar debut in 2006, and as recently as last August took pole for the Indianapolis 500.
However, he has notably struggled with the current car on road and street courses admitting his late-braking technique requires a ‘solid’ rear end – something that disappeared with the arrival of the IR-18 in 2018.
“Upon some 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,” he wrote on social media. “I recently shared this decision and the changes that I want to make with my Dad [Michael Andretti, Andretti Autosport team owner] 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.
“First and foremost, I remain very hungry to win the Indy 500. It is our biggest stage and the place that I feel I bring the most to the table as a driver. I’ve come close there and am in the mix there it seems each year. Winning the pole there last year was awesome but that isn’t enough – I know that a victory there is in my future so we’ll try to get that done in the coming years.
“As such I have committed to and am looking forward to running the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport this year, In addition to being squarely focused on the Indy 500, I might also take a look at perhaps running some other races on the IndyCar schedule down the road as the season progresses, in order to remain “car fit”. I have also offered to help the team with some testing and other activities along the way.
“I will also consider other options among the IndyCar paddock as well as different opportunities in all of motorsports.
“My involvement in my Andretti Autosport entry will continue. [Marco part-owns his #98 entry with Michael Andretti and Bryan Herta].
“I also want to do some sportscar racing – maybe even get the chance to do some IMSA racing with my cousin Jarett which would be a lot of fun for me. I’ll be looking into other sportscar opportunities as well in the coming months, and would welcome discussions in that regard. Marquee events like the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and Le Mans would be on that list.
“I am excited for what the future holds in store for me both on and off the track and, again, am grateful to Dad and Andretti Autosport for allowing me the freedom to change things around as I’d like and to proceed forward a little differently this upcoming season.”
According to TracksideOnline’s database, Andretti has 248 career starts, which ranks him 16th all-time. The 33-year-old has amassed a pair of wins, six poles, 20 podiums, 42 top-five finishes, and has led 1032 laps (39th on the all-time list).