Alonso upbeat about his chances in China (VIDEO)

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Fernando Alonso might not have qualified on the front two rows of the grid for tomorrow’s Chinese Grand Prix, but the Spaniard is pleased with his fifth place finish and believes that Ferrari has made a marked step forwards in recent weeks.

The team has made its worst start to the season since 2009, and this resulted in team principal Stefano Domenicali resigning from his position on Monday. However, Alonso is confident that he can fight to finish on the podium in China given the updates that have been put on the F14 T car.

“We definitely have improvements on the car,” he explained to NBCSN after qualifying. “We tested in Bahrain in the test and yesterday, and they seem to perform well. It seems to give us an extra performance that we did not have in the first three races.

“Tomorrow I hope that transforms into a good result in the race. We’re starting in a position that gives us the possibility to fight for the podium, starting fifth, so that’s the good news from today, but tomorrow we need to leave with a good result.”

Alonso also explained how the start that he makes to the race tomorrow will be key in giving him a chance to score Ferrari’s first podium finish of 2014.

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.