Alexander Rossi was on top of the IndyCar world after his breakthrough win at the 2016 Indianapolis 500. Now, the seven-time IndyCar race winner is losing his ride at Andretti Autosport after what is nearly three seasons of unfulfilled promise.
On Wednesday, Andretti announced that it was parting ways with Rossi after the 2022 season and replacing him with current A.J. Foyt Racing driver Kyle Kirkwood for the No. 27 AutoNation Honda seat.
Kirkwood raced for Andretti Autosport in Indy Lights before taking the Foyt ride during this past offseason.
“I couldn’t be more excited to return to Andretti Autosport next year and represent AutoNation,” Kirkwood said. “Andretti Autosport is a place I’ve called home for years past, and I have truly felt like family. I have a ton of loyalty to the team, and it means a lot to have Michael and the Andretti team offer me this opportunity. AutoNation has been doing great work in raising awareness and funding for cancer research. I’m honored to Drive Pink [DRVPNK] next season.”
Kirkwood won the Indy Lights championship in 2021.
“We really enjoyed having Kyle as part of our Indy Lights team, and he’s off to a strong start in IndyCar,” said Andretti Autosport chairman and CEO Michael Andretti. “I think he’ll bring a fresh perspective and will be competitive. We are looking forward to helping him continue his career growth."
Rossi, 30, was one of the hottest drivers in IndyCar earlier in his career, finishing second in the season championship in 2018 and third in 2019. Since then, the former Formula 1 racer has become an enigma of sorts, as he's been unable to shake a prolonged slump that's lasted more than two seasons.
Rossi has seven IndyCar victories, but is winless in his last 43 starts dating back to a 2019 triumph at Elkhart Lake. He is coming off his best finish of the 2022 season, as he finished fifth in the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500.
“Alexander has been a great contender for us, and we’ve enjoyed having him as part of the team for seven seasons,” Andretti said. “He’s won races and become a leader in the team, but all careers and all teams evolve, and we’ve mutually decided it’s time for each of us to move on. I have no doubt he’ll have a continued, successful IndyCar career, and we wish him the best. In the meantime, we are all working hard to finish the 2022 season strong.”
Kirkwood, 23, has six career IndyCar starts to his credit. His best finish was 10th at Long Beach. He finished 17th in the Indy 500.