It pains me to write it but Marco Andretti needs to leave Andretti Autosport. I’m desperate for Marco to do well but the dream combination of father and son is turning in to a recurring nightmare. Here are my thoughts on why he needs to move.
His career is stagnating
After lighting up IndyCar in 2006 by almost winning Indy in his rookie season, Andretti’s career has since been a series of false dawns. He has typically been teamed with greats of the sport – Franchitti, Wheldon, Kannan – but he has only once, in 2013, finished in the championship top-5. Winless since 2011, Marco is fast going from rookie sensation to journeyman.
In limbo at Andretti Autosport
Andretti’s place at his father’s team seems assured but equally quite uncertain. No longer the rough-around-the-edges rookie, he is neither team-leader (Hunter-Reay), nor promising understudy (Munoz). At times, particularly when listening to race radio communications and post-event interviews, it seems clear that Marco himself is unsure. A team where he is their sole focus but does not carry the weight of expectation/privilege from being the boss’ son/son of a legend could be one way to unlock his undoubted potential.
For the good of IndyCar
IndyCar needs Marco (and Graham Rahal) to be doing well. The IRL/Champ Car schism left us a reality where top drivers like Dixon, Power and Hunter-Reay (still) mean little to most Americans; as was illustrated beautifully by the media ‘blip’ that was Hunter-Reay’s championship win in 2012 (though many blamed IndyCar for not utilising the opportunity properly – another article, for another day!). But the name Andretti still carries a cache that is capable of re-igniting the interest of the average American, and IndyCar desperately needs that.
We want and need to see Marco Andretti back to winning ways in IndyCar. Let’s hope it’s soon.