Vettel could have vital say in Alonso move

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When news broke of Fernando Alonso’s manager meeting with Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, the Formula One rumor mill went into overdrive as the ‘unthinkable’ pairing of the two-time world champion and the latest superstar in F1, Sebastian Vettel, became a serious consideration.

When electing a replacement for Mark Webber though, Red Bull do need to bear in mind the wishes of their triple-champion driver. Vettel has led Red Bull’s dominance in recent years and is the most notable product of their junior programme. Without wishing to brush Webber’s contributions under the carpet, Vettel has in many ways made Red Bull the team they are today. Therefore, it would be unwise for the team to ignore his input when choosing him a new teammate.

When asked about the rumors by the BBC in Hungary, Vettel made his feelings perfectly clear.

“I’d prefer Kimi,” the German driver said. “I need to be careful now, but nothing against Fernando. I really respect him a lot as a driver.

“But I respect Kimi on track, off track, because he has always been very straight with me. From that point of view it would be a bit easier.”

For Alonso, the door may be shut on any potential move as the last thing Red Bull will want to do is alienate their star driver and force him into the arms of another team. Quite whether Alonso was ever serious about the move or if it was just to give Ferrari a wake-up call, it is debatable.

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.