F1 Driver Review: Jenson Button

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After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship season, my colleague Chris Estrada and I are taking a look back on how each of the 23 Formula One drivers who took to the grid fared this past year.

Enduring a rough season to grab ninth place in the drivers’ championship was Jenson Button…

JENSON BUTTON

No. 5 McLaren-Mercedes
2013 Stats: 9th Place, 0 Wins, 0 Podiums, 2 Top-5s, 14 Top-10s, 8 Laps Led
Average Start: 10.5
Average Finish: 9.1
DNFs: 1

DiZinno says: There were some races Button made lemonade out of lemons – China and Brazil stand out – but perhaps the most frustrating item for the 2009 World Champion in 2013 was that he wasn’t able to overcome his one perceived slight of his long career, that he couldn’t exceed the machinery at his disposal. The two years McLaren has built one of the two or three best cars on the grid, Button has been able to maximize it, witness some of his performances in 2011 or 2012. But there didn’t seem a time when Button could do so in 2013. Coupled with the fact the tires were designed to go off early in the year, that also took away one of Button’s greatest assets, in terms of tire preservation over a stint. An altogether frustrating season.

Estrada says: McLaren celebrated its 50th anniversary this season but were unable to give Button a competitive car for the grand occasion. Forced to battle without the benefit of decent pace, Button was still able to squeeze a few impressive results from the MP4-28 such as his run from 14th to fourth in the season finale at Brazil. But the former World Champion could only do so much with a machine that has to be considered one of the bigger duds that McLaren’s put out in a long time. That said, he didn’t help himself with sub-par qualifying (one start in the first three rows all season) either.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
James Gilbert/Getty Images
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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.