Whitmarsh gave no orders to McLaren’s battling drivers

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McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh confirmed he did not issue any team orders to his battling drivers during the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The no-holds-barred tussle between Sergio Perez and Jenson Button saw Perez nudge the back of his team mate at turn four, then Button force him off the track later on.

Perez ultimately prevailed but Button did not disguise his displease at his team mate’s tactics, calling them “too aggressive”.

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh confirmed that, despite recent high-profile rows involving team orders, he did not instruct his drivers to back off.

“There were a lot of people on the edge of the nerves. But I did not issue a team order to them. That is not the way we go racing, and you cannot change your philosophy.”

However he did issue a rebuke to Perez for making contact with Button: “The one thing I did not approve of was hitting your team mate. He overstepped the mark. I gave my view on that.”

“But he is young and still learning. I would prefer to have to pull a racer back rather than have to push them forward. You would expect a driver to be hardwired to behave as Checo did in a deadly battle.”

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.