Marussia chief Graeme Lowdon thanks F1 community for support

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In a very heartfelt and emotional press conference on Friday in Russia, Marussia president and sporting director Graeme Lowdon has thanked the Formula 1 community for its support in the wake of Jules Bianchi’s accident at last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.

During the final few laps of the race at Suzuka, Bianchi crashed into a recovery vehicle being used to remove another car, leaving him with severe head injuries. He remains in a critical but stable condition in Mie General Hospital.

Marussia took the decision to only run with one car in Russia this weekend, leaving Bianchi’s #17 car ready to race on the other side of the garage in support of the Frenchman.

Speaking to the media for the first time since last weekend’s race, Lowdon was quick to thank the F1 paddock for its support and love over the past few days.

“It’s been an incredibly difficult week for Formula 1 but it’s been an incredibly difficult week for our team,” Lowdon said. “As you know, Jules Bianchi had a terrible accident in Suzuka. He’s in hospital there. He’s in a critical condition and the thoughts of everybody in the team, and I know much wider than that, are with Jules at this moment and also with his family.

“I’d like to personally thanks [Ferrari team principal] Marco Mattiacci for his support and kindness, not just in his role at Ferrari, but personally as well. He was at the hospital immediately afterwards and I know provided an awful lot of comfort to those that were there.

“Jules is an exceptional Formula 1 driver but he’s also an exceptional human being. I don’t know a single person who doesn’t like him.

“You wouldn’t wish that accident on anybody, but I think certainly Jules has so many friends that it’s really hit home very hard for a lot of people.

“Our priority from this point onwards is obviously to Jules and his family and we want to provide them with the maximum amount of support at what is really a very difficult time.”

Although this weekend’s race in Russia was expected to herald much fanfare as a new event, it has instead been a very subdued affair so far as thoughts up and down the paddock lie with Bianchi.

The on-track action resumes at Sochi tomorrow with FP3, live on Live Extra from 4am ET.

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.