A quiet day in Jerez for world champs Red Bull

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Reigning Formula One World Champions Red Bull couldn’t avoid the equipment issues that were prevalent during today’s opening day of testing at Jerez, with Sebastian Vettel only able to run three laps in the closing moments.

According to the team, a gearbox issue on their brand-new, Renault-powered RB10 set back their admittedly limited plans for the day. As rain emerged for the final half-hour of testing, Vettel was finally able to get out for an installation lap before turning a couple more on the Pirelli intermediate tires.

“It was difficult to get an impression of what the new car is like,” Vettel told reporters at Jerez, per CNN. “We weren’t quite ready this morning and things took a little bit longer than expected. It was impossible to get a feeling for it today.”

Meanwhile, as the teams trudged through a slow day in Spain, Red Bull designer Adrian Newey – a major part of the team’s four-year reign atop F1 – fretted over the 2014 cars’ radical new nose designs.

In addition to noting their controversial looks, Newey was worried they could pose a safety issue even though they were lowered for 2014 in a bid to reduce scenarios such as a car going airborne in a rear-impact incident.

“I am concerned the opposite may happen and if you hit the back of a car square on, you go underneath and have a rear crash structure in your face,” he said to reporters according to the BBC’s Andrew Benson.

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.”