2016 Indy Lights runner-up Santiago Urrutia says that he is uncertain whether his motorsport career can continue, due to budget constraints following his near-miss in the title race.
In an interview for Motorsport.com’s Latin American edition, the Uruguayan has spoken of the “anguish” he has felt at losing the Indy Lights title in a close fight with Carlin Racing’s Ed Jones, and of his determination to return to the series.
“I felt a lot of anguish,” he said. “I thought about what would happen to me in my personal life, what did I do to reach this ending. I think it even now because I still don’t know if I will race next year.
“It is a mental fight with me every day. I have to confront this reality: I don’t know if I will race. Today I don’t have the budget, so I don’t know if I will be in a racecar in 2017”.
Urrutia admitted this is not the first time he’s felt his career was on a cliff-edge. Following an impressive 2013 season in European Formula 3 [two wins and fourth in the championship], he suffered a desultory year in GP3 and headed to the U.S. and the Pro Mazda Championship after making a bold vow to his sponsors.
“I went to see them promising that if I didn’t win the championship, I would stop racing for good and I would not ask them for more money ever again. And I won that title. In GP3 I had a very bad season, so if I went to the US and I didn’t win the championship... It was what I had to do. And I reached that goal.”
Urrutia won more races than any of his Indy Lights rivals this year (four) but came up two points short of the very consistent Jones.
Asked if he had set himself a deadline by which he needs to resolve his future, Urrutia said: “I think that from now to December 10th, or before Christmas, I will know if I race or not. I will not go out in January to do a few tests and start a season. Or maybe I will, but it is not ideal.
“I think this is the most difficult and most critical moment in my career. If I don’t race in Indy Lights it is very hard for me to continue racing.
“I can end up racing in touring cars in Argentina or in Brazil, which is not a bad thing, but my target is to reach IndyCar, reach the most important series in the United States, and if I can’t then I will look for a Plan B.”