Rossi has been with Michael Andretti’s team since he arrived in IndyCar from Formula 1 in 2016, and scored seven wins including the 2016 Indianapolis 500. He finished second in the 2018 championship and third in 2019.
However, for a variety of reasons – misfortune, slow pitstops and some driving errors – the 30-year-old Californian has not won an IndyCar race for almost three years and six podium finishes over the last two seasons have seen him finish only ninth and 10th respectively in the end-of-year standings.
Rossi is expected to join Arrow McLaren SP.
“Alexander has been a great contender for us, and we’ve enjoyed having him as part of the team for seven seasons,” said Andretti.
“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.”
Replacing Rossi will be Kirkwood, who last year won the Indy Lights championship with Andretti Autosport, becoming the first driver to have won all three steps of the Road To Indy ladder. He scored 31 wins across his 50 races in USF2000, Indy Pro 2000 and Indy Lights.
Andretti couldn’t find room for him in its 2022 IndyCar line-up, so Kirkwood is spending his rookie season racing for AJ Foyt Racing and has scored a best finish of 10th at Long Beach.
Next year he will take over the #27 Andretti machine backed by AutoNation, America’s largest automotive retailer.
“I couldn’t be more excited to return to Andretti Autosport next year and represent AutoNation,” said Kirkwood.
“Andretti Autosport is a place I’ve called home for years past and I have truly felt like family.
“I have a tonne of loyalty to the team, and it means a lot to have Michael and the Andretti team offer me this opportunity.
“I have worked extremely hard this season and will continue to work harder every day for the A.J. Foyt team.
“I want to thank the entire team at A.J. Foyt Racing for giving me the opportunity to compete in the IndyCar Series.
“The group on the #14 car have been incredible and I am beyond grateful to them for all the amazing experiences we have been able to share together so far this season.”
Andretti remarked: “We really enjoyed having Kyle as part of our Indy Lights team and he’s off to a strong start in IndyCar.
“I think he’ll bring a fresh perspective and will be competitive. We are looking forward to helping him continue his career growth.”