IndyCar: More silly season drama on the horizon?

Devlin DeFrancesco, Andretti Autosport, IndyCar - Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Devlin DeFrancesco, Andretti Autosport, IndyCar - Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Andretti Autosport are reportedly looking to replace Devlin DeFrancesco for the 2023 IndyCar season, despite the fact that he is under contract.

IndyCar silly season took the wildest of wild turns earlier this month when Alex Palou was confirmed by both Chip Ganassi Racing and McLaren (not specifically the Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar operation) for the 2023 season.

The former announced that they had picked up the option in his contract to keep the reigning series champion behind the wheel of the #10 Honda for next year, while the latter welcomed him to their organization without confirming the series in which he is set to compete.

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With legality/contract/contract terminology-related issues that go beyond anything that has been or will be printed about the matter and so much that nobody outside of those two organizations knows, this was sure to lead to a long drawn-out process, and that process took another turn earlier this week when Chip Ganassi Racing sued Palou.

Where Palou drives next year — if anywhere — remains a talking point, as does the #10 Honda, considering Chip Ganassi Racing may end up needing to replace him.

But silly season took another interesting turn earlier this week, albeit in a more conventional way, in the form of Andretti Autosport reportedly looking to make a major change. reported that Andretti Autosport are exploring potential replacement drivers for Devlin DeFrancesco behind the wheel of the #29 Honda for 2023, despite the fact that DeFrancesco is under contract with the organization through the 2023 season.

The team have reportedly informed DeFrancesco that a search is ongoing, effectively meaning that his seat is far from safe. He has had a rather disappointing rookie season thus far, with his only top 15 finish being his 15th place finish in the second race of the Iowa Speedway doubleheader this past Sunday afternoon.

DeFrancesco sits in 23rd place in the championship standings, and the only two full-time drivers he sits ahead of drive for A.J. Foyt Enterprises.

Speaking of A.J. Foyt Enterprises, replacing DeFrancesco wouldn’t be the first big change Andretti Autosport have made for 2023.

With Alexander Rossi set to leave the team after seven seasons and join Arrow McLaren SP, Andretti Autosport confirmed that current A.J. Foyt Enterprises driver Kyle Kirkwood, who won the championship for Michael Andretti’s team in Indy Lights last year, is set to replace him behind the wheel of the #27 Honda next year.

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With Colton Herta under contract and Romain Grosjean expected to return, the #29 Honda is likely the final puzzle piece in Andretti Autosport’s role in silly season for 2023. But it’s certainly a big one, considering how many possibilities there are to fill that seat.