Maldonado: Lotus hungrier than ever after poor start to 2014

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After a difficult start to the 2014 Formula 1 season, Pastor Maldonado has said that his Lotus team is hungrier than ever to fight back and set itself up for a strong campaign in 2015.

The Venezuelan driver has not scored any points so far this season, whilst teammate Romain Grosjean has struggled to match his 2013 form, scoring just eight points. The E22 car has been problematic, but Maldonado believes that there are encouraging signs that should not be ignored.

“We have seen flashes of big promise from the E22,” he said. “If everything is running right and the team continues to push then we can get more points for sure.

“As a team we will stay together with a clear mission to achieve the maximum. That way we will come back stronger and become a force in 2015.

“But first we are hungrier than ever to get back in to the mix for points again in 2014.”

It has been a difficult year or so at Enstone. The team has come back from the brink of financial collapse, and although it may rank eighth in the constructors’ championship, there have been moments where the car has looked capable of fighting in the top ten.

At the Spanish Grand Prix, Romain Grosjean qualified an excellent fifth before finishing eighth, and although he hasn’t scored any points since the Monaco Grand Prix, the Frenchman has certainly shown signs of the promise that we saw at the end of last year.

The worst of the storm may be over for Lotus, but the focus now must be on getting the team back to the shore to prepare for the 2015 season.

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.”