Kyle Kirkwood is currently enjoying his time in IndyCar racing, but he is hoping to be one of the front runners for Andretti Global if it becomes part of the Formula 1 grid as the 11th team.
Kirkwood has claimed two wins in his debut season with Andretti and second in North America’s top open-wheel series, including the very first victory of his racing career in the Grand Prix of Long Beach back in April.
The 25-year-old became the first driver to ever win championships in all three categories that include USF 2000, USF Pro 2000, and Indy NXT – the junior category for the IndyCar Series – after he won the Indy NXT title in 2021.
Additionally, he won the titles for the Formula Regional Americas Championship (formerly known as F3 Americas) and Formula 4 United States Championship in back-to-back seasons in 2017 and 2018. Furthermore, Kirkwood was the sole winner on an IndyCar team that also fielded highly regarded Colton Herta and former F1 driver Romain Grosjean.
Kirkwood hopes to be on the shortlist of potential drivers for a Formula 1 seat, as team owner Michael Andretti is interested in entering F1 starting in 2025 after receiving FIA approval.
“Yeah, I would hope that he would consider me,” Kirkwood said. “But I think for me right now, I’m extremely happy in the situation that I’m in. I love being US-based.
“I love being able to go to Florida and the time off that you get in IndyCar versus F1. I like the minimal amount of travelling that you have here in IndyCar.
“There’s a lot of things in F1 that take away from… it’s an extreme change from IndyCar to F1,” he added.
“That being said, I think growing up as a young kid in karting, was always the number one thing that you wanted to do.
“You always looked up to F1, especially being in Florida where it’s very South American and European based, in the karting scene.”
Kirkwood is good friends with current Williams driver Logan Sargeant, therefore he has an insider’s perspective on the way of life and dedication needed to make it in Formula 1.
“Yeah, it would be hard for me to say no to anything over there,” Kirkwood admitted. “That just stems from being a young kid in karting and looking up to all the F1 guys.
“I remember thinking when I was really young that if I just drove an F1 car, that would make my life complete.
“Then I remember that changing and being like, ‘Oh, well if I drive an Indy car and whatnot, then my life would be complete because this is the direction that I change towards.”
The Andretti driver’s idea of racing in IndyCar surfaced around the time he was 12 years old and in the midst of winning multiple karting championships. It seemed appealing to Kirkwood because the racing was more approachable and it resembled a karting race rather than a manufacturers racing.
Additionally, it kept him close to his favorite American destinations while attending school. However he admits that the idea of F1 is appealing.
“If I had an opportunity in F1, I’d be probably obligated to go for it as I think most drivers in our series would say,” Kirkwood said. “That’s not taking away from what IndyCar is or anything like that, because I think IndyCar is the best series in the world for how the series treats its drivers, how the racing is, what the camaraderie is between drivers, the enjoyable places we go to, the quality of life.
“I think all of it is top notch in IndyCar.
“At the same time, F1 has been the pinnacle of motorsports forever, so it’d be hard to say no to that being a competitor.”