Austrian GP flashback: Stewart’s second title an anticlimax (VIDEO)

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCiz22kna4k

With the Austrian Grand Prix set to return to the Formula One calendar next year we’re taking a look back at some of the memorable moments in F1 history seen in the country.

The 1971 Austrian Grand Prix, held on this day 42 years ago, confirmed Jackie Stewart as world champion for the second time in his career. Stewart won the title in somewhat inauspicious circumstances.

Heading into the eighth race of the eleven-round series, Stewart had a healthy 32-point lead over closest rival Jacky Ickx. The Tyrrell driver had won five of the preceding races in a dominant campaign.

But in Austria it was Jo Siffert and BRM’s turn to shine. The Swiss driver clinched the second and final victory of his F1 career with a consummate performance, starting from pole position and leading every lap.

Stewart gave chased of the BRM but after 35 laps a half-shaft broke on his Tyrrell, putting him out of a race for the first time that year.

That would have given Ickx a chance to narrow the gap in the points table but the Ferrari driver’s engine had already died four laps earlier. Stewart trudged back to the pits having clinched the title in the most anticlimactic of circumstances.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”