Vergne: Lack of consistency cost me Red Bull seat

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Jean-Éric Vergne believes that a lack of consistency has cost him a shot at the Red Bull seat for 2014 as the defending world champions turn their attention to his Toro Rosso teammate, Daniel Ricciardo.

Vergne has outscored Ricciardo so far this season, picking up thirteen points compared to the Australian’s eleven. Furthermore, Vergne has the best result of the two drivers during their eighteen months together as teammates in F1, with his sixth-place finish at the Canadian Grand Prix also being the team’s best result since Sebastian Vettel’s final race for Toro Rosso. However, a lack of consistency has, in Vergne’s eyes, been his downfall.

“Red Bull is the world champion team and it needs a driver who is going to score points at every race to win the title,” Vergne explained in an interview with L’Equipe. “If you look at the results this year, I’ve scored more points than Ricciardo, but he’s finished all the races, I haven’t.

“I have a label on my back. Even if it’s false, in the paddock Ricciardo is seen as consistent and I’m not.”

In 2013, Vergne has scored points on three occasions and retired four times, whereas Ricciardo has retired just twice. Despite the portrayed gulf between the two drivers in Vergne’s rejection, it is one of the closest inter-team battles on the grid. Vergne did concede that retiring from so many races fails to put him in a good light.

“The choice is complicated,” Vergne continued. “Horner isn’t the only one making the decision. Adrian Newey has a say, as does Dietrich Mateschitz and Helmut Marko.

“I understand the risks they take, hiring a young driver like Daniel or me. And seeing a driver who doesn’t finish half his races unsettles them.”

Red Bull are expected to make a decision in the coming weeks over their driver line-up for 2014.

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.