Lotus: No room for complacency

1 Comment

With only one week to savor his team’s victory in Melbourne, Lotus technical director James Allison has said the team cannot afford to rest on its laurels if it is to open the 2013 Formula 1 season with back-to-back victories.

In the team’s official Malaysian Grand Prix pre-race release, Allison said there are still “annoyances” the team has to work through and has to keep pressing ahead of the race in Kuala Lumpur.

“I think mechanically we have a strong car. As said repeatedly since the beginning of the season, the annoyances we had in the garages were just that – annoyances – rather than worries,” he said. “Getting the set up just so and having both driver and car working in harmony is far from a given, so there’s no room for complacency at all.”

Malaysia and Australia present two completely different circuits; the series shifts from the street circuit in Melbourne to the first of the Hermann Tilke-designed tracks on the calendar, in a race that is notoriously one of the hottest of the year.

“The race was conducted in cooler than expected conditions,” Allison said of Melbourne. “When it is cool, tire wear is dominated by graining. We were able to make the car work in these conditions, but it remains to be seen whether we can do the same when the wear mechanism shifts to traditional high temperature degradation. One thing we can be sure of is that Malaysia will deliver high temperature degradation in spades.”

Allison said the team will work with an experimental exhaust and bodywork combination, and also try out a new front wing this weekend.

Kimi Raikkonen qualified and finished fifth in Malaysia a year ago, while Romain Grosjean started seventh and spun off after three laps.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
4 Comments

Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”