Kiel’s surprising decision comes after two years as team captain he joined for the first time in nearly 15 years, when he was still Sam Schmidt Motorsports and was primarily in the Indy Lights with annual forays into the Indy 500.
As reported on IndyCar.com, Keel posted on social media: “What a journey I’ve been on Arrow McLaren SP. I have had the privilege of working for Arrow McLaren SP for more than a decade. When I started as a junior Indy Lights mechanic at Sam Schmidt Motorsports, I saw the potential to learn and grow within the organization with guidance from Sam and Chris Griffis.
“As I step away, I feel proud that we have developed this team into an organization capable of fighting for championships and winning every week. I am now looking forward to spending time with my growing family and an exciting new chapter in the future.”
Many believe Kiel’s quiet demeanor on the radio, who advocated a Pato-ward strategy, was the key to making the most of the mercurial youngster who has finished fourth, third and seventh in the championship over the past three seasons. In that time, O’Ward has amassed five poles, four wins, nine more podiums, and ten other top five poles.
Motorsport.com has learned that Kiel’s “new chapter” will be in Chip Ganassi Racing, learned the ropes from General Manager Mike Hull, who is also his stepfather, or his replacement. Hull has been at Ganassi for more than three decades.
Neither party immediately responded to the contact regarding the matter.
Kiel’s departure from AMSP comes at an auspicious time, as the team expands to three full-time entries for O’Ward, the newcomer Alexander Rossi It was recently confirmed Felix Rosenqvistwho was on shaky ground most of the summer with the signature McLaren Racing Alex Ballou.
The chaotic issue was resolved out of court when Palo’s management appeared to admit he had breached the terms of his contract with Ganassi by negotiating with a rival team too early in the season, and that Chip Ganassi is exercising his option with the Spanish superstar for a third. Season took precedence. The 2021 IndyCar champion will therefore be a test driver for the McLaren F1 team, but will remain in Ganassi’s No. 10 car for 2023.
Kiel’s departure was acknowledged with a brief note from AMSP, stating: “As of Tuesday, September 20, Taylor Kiel is stepping down as Arrow McLaren SP president after two seasons.
“As the team grows to three cars for the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series season, team management will be announced in due course.”
Motorsport.com understands that this will come sooner rather than later. Some sources indicate that the strongest candidate is Brian Barnhart, the former head of race operations and race director at IndyCar. Barnhart joined Harding Racing in 2017, which then evolved into Harding Steinbrenner Racing and then absorbed it. Andretti Autosport with which it has a technical relationship.
After spending the season as Rossi’s strategist, moving with the seven-time race winner to Arrow McLaren SP and taking on a management role – possibly retaining a strategic role – would make sense as the pair have built a solid working relationship.
However, Motorsport.com believes the team’s competition director, Billy Vincent, is also set to be offered a promotion to a management role, possibly liaising with McLaren’s UK arm, and applying lessons learned in F1 to the IndyCar team. Vincent joined the team after several years as Chief of Staff at Penske team In which he won the 2016 title with Simon Pagenaud. He took over as Director of Competitions at then-Schmidt Peterson Motorsport at the start of 2019, a position he holds to this day, while also advocating for Rosenqvist’s strategy at #7 AMSP-Chevrolet.
One noticeable change to the #7 car for 2023 will be the absence of Craig Hampson who has worked since mid-2021 as a race engineer at Rosenqvist. Hampson will switch to Rousey’s new entry in ’23, while Rosenqvist will have a promoted race engineer from the inside – perhaps it was Chris Lawrence who devised the strategy that Vincent should call.