Red Bull’s Horner shoots down conspiracy claims

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Infiniti Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has denied claims of conspiracy against driver Mark Webber, whose chaotic Chinese Grand Prix weekend ended with his right rear wheel coming off shortly after a pit stop during the race.

“We’re all about trying to get two cars to the finish as high as we can…[A conspiracy against Webber] is complete rubbish,” Horner said according to The Telegraph. “Any people who think that there is a conspiracy against one or either driver do not know what they are looking at.”

The wheel incident incurred a fine of 5,000 Euros against Red Bull. In a double-whammy, Webber will also have to suffer a grid penalty of three positions at next week’s Bahrain Grand Prix for his role in an incident with Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne.

For weeks now, Horner has been caught in the middle of Webber and World Champion Sebastian Vettel’s dispute over team orders that began at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Shortly before the weekend began in Shanghai, he admitted that he was powerless to stop the feud, which appeared to intensify further with Vettel’s comments that his Australian teammate didn’t deserve to win at Sepang.

“If those guys are in a position to win in the final 10 laps of a Grand Prix, they are going to race each other,” Horner told the Telegraph’s Oliver Brown on Thursday. “From [team owner] Dietrich’s [Mateschitz] perspective, he is very happy with that so long as it won’t compromise what the team achieves at the end of the season. He just doesn’t want to see them crash into each other.”

Vettel finished fourth on Sunday in Shanghai, narrowly losing out on a podium to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

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.