Valsecchi has faith in Lotus E21

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Lotus F1 Team test driver Davide Valsecchi believes that the 2013 Lotus car is fast and competitive following his run at the Circuit de Catalunya yesterday.

Valsecchi deputized for Kimi Raikkonen, who came down with food poisoning, in the morning session yesterday before handing the reins back to full time driver Romain Grosjean for the afternoon.

Although he only finished eleventh fastest, Valsecchi was highly impressed by the new car.

“It’s clear that it’s [the E21] a very good racing car. For me to be able to get immediately on the pace means that the car is certainly fast and competitive.”

The 2012 GP2 champion was also highly grateful for the opportunity. The test driver role in Formula One has been criticized in recent years, with Sauber test driver Robin Frijns making his limited opportunities in the role public. However, Valsecchi was enthused by the session yesterday.

“This morning was quite a rush to get everything ready as the call only came late, but the team were fantastic getting the car prepared for me.

“It was a fantastic opportunity; I sat in the seat of a former World Champion so I knew that I’d be fast for sure.”

Lotus trackside operations director Alan Permane was also impressed by Valsecchi, and revealed that he would be happy to call on the Italian driver if need be.

“Davide did a great job at short notice and we know we can rely on him if he’s called upon again.”

Lotus will be encouraged by the pace of the E21 as well as that of their test driver. Should Valsecchi’s good showings continue, he could be in the running for a race seat should one become available.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.