Image: Pato O’Ward
Before the first wheel turned at St. Pete 17 days, it was widely assumed that Alexander Rossi would leave Andretti Autosport at the end of this season. Rumors have him going to either Ganassi in the fourth car currently driven by Jimmie Johnson, or Will Power’s seat in car 12 at Penske. I am okay with this. The speculation has simmered since late 2021.
Yesterday, Racer magazine’s Marshall Pruett posted a piece about Pato O’Ward in which the AMSP driver says it is possible he will be in a different situation in 2023. he wasn’t clear whether that ride would be in Indycar with another team or in another slot within the McLaren organization.
Meanwhile, Michael Andretti continues to pursue his goal of F1 team ownership. His quest looks to widened. He still hopes that the current Formula 1 owners will accept his new team. There is also talk that he is speaking to Red Bull about buying the Alpha Tauri team. Should Andretti acquire an F1 component to his racing empire, Colton Herta will move to the European based circuit.
Last week Herta signed a development driver contract with McLaren, which gives him an opportunity to get more super license points to qualify to drive in F1.
The good news is that Andretti is not likely to have a Formula 1 team until 2024, and it is unlikely that McLaren will have an open F1 seat before then for O’Ward. Rossi apparently will stay in Indycar for the forseeable future.
We need to enjoy watching Herta and O’Ward this year and next. After that, who knows? It isn’t as if the cupboard of young talent is bare should the two young guns leave. Kyle Kirkwood, Christian Lundgaard, and Callum Ilott will easily take over the spotlight.
We are just one race into the 2022 season. Can’t we just enjoy the racing at this point and save all the musical chairs stuff until late July? Silly Season seems to arrive earlier every year, but three weeks after the first race is way too early.
My Texas coverage starts later today. I will be on site this weekend. Please follow along.