Wolff keeping his feet on the ground despite Mercedes’ success

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Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff is refusing to get ahead of himself despite the team’s blistering start to the 2014 Formula 1 season.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have won all five races so far this season, and have also picked up four one-twos in the process, giving the Silver Arrows at total of 197 points from a possible 215. In fact, it marks the most dominant spell in Formula 1 since McLaren back in 1998.

However, Wolff is refusing to assume that the team will once again dominate at next weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.

“We came away from Barcelona with plenty of positive points and the most encouraging was that our development package worked, which allowed us to maintain a healthy gap to our rivals on that circuit,” he explained. “But Monaco is a different story every year. It’s a place that rewards driveability, confidence and a strong qualifying performance.

“Most of all, though, it’s about avoiding mistakes: the drivers have no room for error and neither does the team.”

Hamilton and Rosberg have been relatively error-free so far this year. In fact, both drivers have only made minor mistakes during qualifying, but they will need to be avoided in Monaco. Wolff went on to explain how the team is refusing to rest on its laurels, and continues to develop the W05 hybrid car at a rapid rate.

“We have been pushing hard since the last race and nobody will be backing off in our teams at Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart,” he said. “We are heading to Monaco with our feet on the ground because it is a place that can bite you if you get over-confident.

“We have a quick Silver Arrow and Lewis and Nico are specialists around the streets. But we need to bring every piece of the puzzle together if we want to maintain our run of success next weekend.”

Both drivers are chasing a second win in the principality, but the pressure will be on for them to get to the checkered flag in first and second at F1’s glamor event.

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.”