Hamilton not expecting miracles in Melbourne

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Winter testing suggested that the downbeat attitude emerging from Mercedes for 2013 was ‘smoke in mirrors’, and that in reality, the team were best-placed to win on Formula One’s return in Australia this weekend.

Lewis Hamilton, who joined the team during the off-season after leaving McLaren, has insisted that Mercedes are not in a position to win this year, and he mocked the speculation surrounding his pace ahead of the new season.

“First people were talking us down and saying we were going to do terrible and now all of a sudden they’ve changed their opinion. People are all over the place!”

The 2008 world champion was however quick to downplay his chances once again.

“I think what we have to make people remember is that this team and this car have struggled for the last couple of years and that doesn’t change with a click of the fingers.”

Mercedes re-entered the sport in 2010 as an evolution of Brawn GP, and they have failed to achieve any great success having claimed just one win in three seasons. The move has required Hamilton to adjust to life outside of McLaren, but he admitted that he felt comfortable in the car during the drivers’ press conference.

“I feel comfortable in the car. I feel we’ve definitely made some really good steps forward. We’ve still got a lot of work to do. Obviously, normally when you go to a new team it takes a while to get settled in but I’m still working as hard as I can to make sure that feels as comfortable as possible.”

Hamilton has a good record in Melbourne, claiming pole position and the race win in 2008, and he started from pole last year before finishing in third place. The Briton will be hoping to continue this record on debut for Mercedes, and if winter testing is anything to go by, he will certainly be in the running for the win on Sunday.

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.