Mercedes board understand team’s struggles

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Mercedes F1 team executive director Toto Wolff says the company’s board understands the difficulties it has experienced this year.

The team is under pressure to perform following the ousting of former vice-president of motorsport Norbert Haug last year. Daimler Group CEO Dieter Zetsche attended last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix where his cars locked out the front row of the grid but finished sixth and twelfth in the race.

“Having them at the races is not only a very good motivation for the team, but it is good that they see there is huge complexity in the problem,” Wolff told Autosport.

“When you watch things on television, you always think you can do better. It’s like being at a football stadium as a manager – it is always easier when you are far away.”

Wolff added Mercedes recognize the team “are reacting” to the problems they’ve experienced in the campaign so far.

Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have qualified well in the opening races but have struggled to make their tyres last. With the exception of Malaysia their drivers have finished lower than they qualified in every race so far this year:

Race Nico Rosberg Lewis Hamilton
Start Finish Start Finish
Australia 6 DNF 3 5
Malaysia 6 4 4 3
China 4 DNF 1 3
Bahrain 1 9 9* 5
Spain 1 6 2 12

*Relegated five places on the grid due to a gearbox change penalty.

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.