IndyCar: What Andretti needs to do throughout 2023

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport, IndyCar (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport, IndyCar (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images) /

Andretti Autosport’s 2023 IndyCar season is a big one. A strong year is needed for the organization and their drivers on multiple levels. 

They’re one of those teams in sports that no matter what, expectations are high. On top of the household name and high expectations, there are few drivers with the fan following the Andretti Autosport IndyCar team’s drivers have.

However, over the past three years, Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing have separated themselves from the rest of the IndyCar field while Andretti Autosport have fallen behind.

Since 2020, Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing have 19 and 16 wins, respectively, while Andretti Autosport drivers have taken the checkered flag just six times during that span.

Michael Andretti’s team hasn’t had a driver win the championship since Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2012. Last year was particularly rough, with Colton Herta and Alexander Rossi tied for ninth place in the standings, and some inter-team conflict between Rossi and Romain Grosjean was all too clear on a few occasions.

The Indy 500 hasn’t been kind to Andretti either. They haven’t won the race since Rossi and Takuma Sato went back-to-back in 2016 and 2017. Out of their 22 entries since 2019, they’ve only recorded seven top 10 finishes.

Michael Andretti also has his hands full off the track. His bid to join Formula 1 in 2026 has been met with plenty of resistance, but he has continued to legitimize that bid.

In January, it was announced that Cadillac will partner with Andretti Global in their pursuit to join Formula 1. The addition of Cadillac brought some much-needed legitimacy to Andretti’s interest and reaffirmed that the team will lean in to fill the American gap in the sport.

But the two big names teaming up won’t be enough to get into Formula 1. There is skepticism among the current teams on the grid that the addition of another team would bring more money. The concern is that another team would just mean that another bite is being taken out of pie.

Beyond the money, winning can play a key role in Andretti’s pursuit of Formula 1. The last thing the international series needs is another team running 60 seconds off pace. If the current detractors in Formula 1 begin citing Andretti’s recent performance in IndyCar as a reason not to bring them in, there will be little arguing that.

Andretti is a big name and has a winning pedigree, but recent struggles will be low-hanging fruit to discredit the bid.

But the IndyCar season opener in St. Petersburg was a promising start for Andretti Autosport.

Both Herta and Kyle Kirkwood finished each practice session in the top four. Grosjean joined the fun during qualifying, as the trio took the top three spots in the second round. Grosjean ended up on pole, with Herta joining him on the front row.

Several incidents on race day kept all three of them from getting meaningful points for the team. What was a promising weekend quickly turned into a disaster. The silver lining is that the speed was still there on race day and none of the incidents were the Andretti drivers’ fault.

With all the talent on the team and a fast car, there is no reason that Herta, Grosjean, and Kirkwood can’t consistently run at the front. On paper, 2023 should be a big year for Andretti.

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Do you think Andretti Autosport have the lineup and car to make the leap back up to the front this year? They’ll get their chance to get the points they missed out on in St. Petersburg this weekend during the PPG 375 at Texas Motor Speedway, which is set to be broadcast live on NBC beginning at 12:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 2. Start a free trial of FuboTV today and don’t miss it!