Ferrari denies speculation suggesting it could quit F1

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Scuderia Ferrari has released a statement rejecting stories about the team’s future in Formula 1, saying that they have been misconstrued and misunderstood.

Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported comments from Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo that suggested the Italian marque could turn its back on F1 and turn attention to an expanded sportscar programme.

“Formula 1 isn’t working,” he said. “It’s declining because the FIA has forgotten that people watch the racing for the excitement. Nobody watches racing for the efficiency, come on.

“People watch racing to be entertained. No-one wants to watch a driver save gas or tires. They want to see them push from here to there. It’s sport, yes, but also a show.”

Montezemolo also said that it would not be possible to run both the Le Mans and Formula 1 programmes side by side. However, a statement from the team suggested otherwise.

“Some elements of the media have suggested Ferrari would quit Formula 1 to concentrate on the Le Mans 24 Hours and Endurance racing,” the statement read. “This is a bit of a stretch based on President Luca di Montezemolo reiterating that Formula 1 needs to evolve and renew itself, while also admitting that there is a unique attraction to the 24 Hour race.

“To say that after 2020, Ferrari could quit Formula 1 to concentrate on Le Mans and the Endurance championship takes his words to extremes. Plus of course, there’s nothing to stop Ferrari upping the ante and competing in both disciplines. So it’s just pure speculation.”

Ferrari’s recent struggles in Formula 1 has coincided with a revival for endurance racing. The formation of the World Endurance Championship has made it a more cohesive series, and the arrival of Toyota, Porsche and – as of next year – Nissan to challenge Audi has given it new life.

Montezemolo has flirted with the idea of entering the LMP1 class again with a works team, and the new regulations in Formula 1 have not been to his liking; in his eyes, it is “taxi cab racing”.

This is not the first time that Ferrari has threatened to quit Formula 1, but the sport does appear to revolve around the team to some extent, with the Concorde Agreement having Ferrari-specific clauses.

For now though, it appears to just be another empty threat. That said, a Ferrari LMP1 project in the future is by no means out of the question.

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.”