Bianchi to sit out FP2 after crash in Japan

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Jules Bianchi is OK after his accident in Free Practice 1 in Suzuka – his Marussia, however, was not.

The Frenchman’s chassis is too damaged to repair in time to run in Free Practice 2, so he’ll have to sit out the second 90-minute practice session for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.

He crashed in FP1 when he tried to correct a slide at Degner 2; his arm got stuck on the left side of the cockpit while trying to save it and he hit the barrier, damaging his left side of the car.

A team statement read: “As a consequence of Jules Bianchi’s accident in this morning’s Free Practice 1 session, his allocated chassis MR02-02 has sustained damage that is repairable but not in sufficient time for him to take part in Free Practice 2. Jules will therefore sit out this afternoon’s session. The spare chassis will be built up in time for Jules to resume running in Free Practice 3 on Saturday morning.”

Suzuka was one of only a handful of tracks where Bianchi didn’t run as a third driver for Force India in 2012, so this costs the rookie valuable track time to learn one of the most challenging circuits on the calendar.

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.