F1 considering Losail circuit for pre-season test

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Formula One is considering holding a pre-season test at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar next year according to Autosport.

A test in the Middle East is being considered after low temperatures during this year’s pre-seasons tests in Spain meant little meaningful running could be completed.

Although the Jerez circuit in southern Spain usually sees warmer conditions the abrasiveness of the track surface is far beyond what F1 sees at circuits on the racing schedule, making it less useful for testing.

Among the other possibilities under consideration are a test at Bahrain ahead of a season-opening race at the track, or a test at the Yas Marina circuit which hosts the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The major disadvantages of testing further away from the teams’ European bases is the added expense and the increased difficulty of sending out spare parts at short notice.

Losail has never hosted an F1 test or race before but is of suitably high standard to do so.

Few drivers on the grid today have experience of Losail. Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez and Giedo van der Garde do, having participated in a GP2 Asia round at the track in 2009. Hulkenberg and Perez won the two races.

Losail has appeared on the Moto GP calendar since 2004 and has hosted the season-opening race every year since 2007.

Losail International Circuit aerial map:

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

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
James Gilbert/Getty Images
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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.