McLaren SP President Kiel leaves team

Taylor Kiel

Taylor Kiel has left the McLaren SP IndyCar team, where he had been President as recently as the just-completed season.

Kiel made the announcement via his personal Twitter profile, although he gave no reason for the departure except for referring to a desire to spend time with family.

McLaren SP confirmed the departure, but has not yet named a replacement.

“Effective Tuesday, September 20, Taylor Kiel is stepping down as Arrow McLaren SP President after two seasons,” read a brief statement from the squad.

“As the team grows to three cars for the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series season, announcements on team management will be made in due course.”

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Earlier, Kiel had announced on Twitter, “It’s been an honor to work for Arrow McLaren SP for more than a decade.

“As I step away, I am most proud of growing this team into a powerhouse able to fight for championships and wins each week.

“I now look forward to spending time with my own growing family and whatever’s next!”

Kiel has been part of the team since 2008, in the Sam Schmidt Motorsports era, and, as noted above, been President for the last two seasons.

In that time, McLaren SP has arguably supplanted Andretti Autosport as one of IndyCar’s ‘big three’, a trio also comprised of Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing, although it is yet to land the major prizes of a series title or Indianapolis 500 win.

It has, however, ruffled feathers in recent months for its part in the Alex Palou contract saga which saw the 2021 IndyCar champion taken to court by the Ganassi squad over breach of contract.

Both teams claimed to have a contract for his services for 2023, Ganassi’s in the form of an option which it had exercised on Palou, but, after a period of mediation, he is staying put for next year’s IndyCar season, although with a McLaren Formula 1 testing programme on the side.

The knock-on effect is that Felix Rosenqvist will indeed stay with McLaren SP, having looked like exiting at least the Woking-based organisation’s IndyCar programme.

Originally, McLaren Racing had announced his re-signing, without deciding whether he would stay on in the North American category or be shifted to its new Formula E programme.

Then, a report emerged claiming that Rosenqvist did not in fact have a contract with the organisation, which the Swede refuted.

As it turned out, the team did indeed hold an option for IndyCar but the Formula E side of agreement was far more tenuous, with McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown explaining recently at Laguna Seca that it was a handshake deal.

According to Brown, they “ultimately released [Rosenqvist] from our verbal agreement” given his position had firmed in wanting to stay Stateside after all.

Days later, Palou announced he was continuing with Ganassi and thus McLaren SP retained Rosenqvist.

He will be part of an expanded, full-time three-car attack on the series in 2023, with 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi shifting across from Andretti while Pato O’Ward continues in Car #5, for which Kiel had also been strategist for the last two seasons.

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