Lotus in “privileged position” to pick new driver

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Following Kimi Raikkonen’s decision to leave Lotus at the end of the season in favor of a return to Ferrari, his current team principal Eric Boullier has opted to look at the positives as he searches for a new driver to replace the Finn.

Raikkonen’s exit opens up a seat at Lotus for 2014, with Nico Hulkenberg, Felipe Massa and Davide Valsecchi thought to be three drivers in the running. Further to that, Romain Grosjean’s three-race rolling contract means that his place at Enstone is by no means secure. For Boullier, although Raikkonen’s exit is a loss, it does give the team options.

“We are currently in discussion with a few people and will make a decision shortly,” Boullier told Lotus’ official website. “We are in the privileged position of being the most desirable team on the grid with a seat available, so we are therefore in no rush to announce anyone without establishing what will be the best for our team and the future.”

Boullier admitted that losing Raikkonen was a disappointment, but he is pleased to have played a part in the Finn’s comeback after he walked away from Formula One in 2009.

“Of course this is a disappointment to all of us, and we’re sure you will agree that Kimi has been nothing but brilliant since he joined us,” Boullier said. “In the same breath, Enstone has once again proven its pedigree; providing him with two great cars and making his return to Formula One a success.”

You can read the complete interview with Eric Boullier on Lotus’ website.

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.