Carlos Sainz Jr. dominates at Spa with two wins in Formula Renault 3.5

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Red Bull youngster Carlos Sainz Jr. has taken a huge step towards securing a Formula 1 seat in the near future after dominating the latest round of the Formula Renault 3.5 season at Spa this weekend.

The Spaniard won both races from pole position at the historic circuit to surge into a 43-point lead at the top of the drivers’ standings, and is well-placed to follow in Kevin Magnussen’s footsteps and clinch the title this season.

Formula Renault 3.5 is widely regarded as being one of F1’s premier feeder series alongside GP2, and has produced a number of the current drivers racing in the sport. Daniel Ricciardo, Pastor Maldonado, Jules Bianchi and Jean-Eric Vergne have all raced in the Renault-backed series, and Sebastian Vettel also took part in half of the 2007 season before moving up to F1 earlier than planned.

Sainz Jr., the son of rally legend Carlos, is one of three premier juniors with Red Bull at the moment, and is poised to take Vergne’s place at Toro Rosso at the end of the season.

Fellow Red Bull-backed driver Pierre Gasly finished directly behind Sainz on Saturday, and came home in fourth on Sunday. He remains in second place in the championship, and is definitely a star to look out for in the future.

The race on Saturday was particularly frenetic, but Sainz managed to keep his head whilst all about him lost theirs and win ahead of Gasly.

Sauber junior driver Sergey Sirotkin failed to finish either race at Spa, extending his streak of DNFs to four.

You can watch highlights of the action at Spa on Renault Sport’s official YouTube channel.

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.