IndyCar: ‘Worst kept secret’ of 2022 only the beginning?

Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport, IndyCar (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport, IndyCar (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The “worst kept secret” of the 2022 IndyCar silly season was finally revealed earlier this week, with Alexander Rossi leaving Andretti Autosport.

The move that pretty much everybody saw coming was confirmed earlier this week when Arrow McLaren SP announced that current Andretti Autosport driver Alexander Rossi is set to join the team ahead of the 2023 IndyCar season.

It was a move that was rumored for months, and it was all but confirmed when Andretti Autosport announced one day prior that Rossi is set to be replaced by Kyle Kirkwood behind the wheel of the #27 Honda next year.

With 10 wins in 20 races, Kirkwood won the 2021 Indy Lights championship with Andretti Autosport, but there was no space available for him at the four-car Honda team this year after they opted to promote Devlin DeFrancesco instead.

So Kirkwood currently finds himself competing as a rookie for A.J. Foyt Enteprises behind the wheel of the #14 Chevrolet.

While the changes at two of the sport’s top teams are huge changes in themselves, the confirmation of the “worst kept secret” of the 2022 silly season is only the beginning.

The main X-factor here is the third Arrow McLaren SP seat.

Arrow McLaren SP have run as a two-car team, save for select races such as the Indy 500 when they’ve added a third car, since entering IndyCar in 2020 following the partnership between McLaren and Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. But they plan to expand to three cars on a full-time basis for 2023.

Rossi’s confirmation comes less than a week after Arrow McLaren SP signed Pato O’Ward to a multi-year contract extension to continue driving the #5 Chevrolet, but even with the team’s impending expansion to three cars, the future is less certain for Felix Rosenqvist behind the wheel of the #7 Chevrolet.

If Rosenqvist doesn’t return for a third year with the team, where will he end up? Who will replace him, and how will that affect further driver movement throughout the rest of the paddock?

One big change for Belle Isle. dark. Next

We may only be six races into the 17-race 2022 season, but suffice it to say that the third Arrow McLaren SP seat has the potential — to say the very least — to shake up the 2023 driver lineup in a big way. While the “worst kept secret” of silly season has now been formally revealed, that confirmation is only the first of many dominoes to fall.