Report: Redundancies made at Caterham ahead of Abu Dhabi return

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Caterham F1 Team is set to take just 40 staff to the final round of the 2014 Formula 1 season in Abu Dhabi next weekend after over 200 workers were made redundant earlier this week, according to a report by Reuters.

After entering administration last month, Caterham missed the last two races in the United States and Brazil, but confirmed on Friday that it would be making a shock return to the grid for the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi.

Administrator Finbarr O’Connell revealed that, thanks to a crowdfunding drive to raise funds for the race, enough outside investment has been found to ensure that the team can race at Yas Marina and bring itself in line for a $40m windfall. The crowdfunding deadline has now been extended to after the race in Abu Dhabi.

Speaking to Reuters’ Alan Baldwin, O’Connell confirmed that redundancies had been made as the team had not yet been sold, with the majority of the workers agreeing to this.

“They were very supportive but asked would I agree, if the team was not sold by Friday November 14, to organize them to be made redundant,” O’Connell said, before going on to reveal that talks to try and save the team will take place in Abu Dhabi.

“We are going to Abu Dhabi, racing and talking to potential buyers with meetings already arranged out there,” he explained. “The second track is that at the same time the claims forms will be up and running.

“A best outcome could be for staff to get redundancy, arrears of pay and then if someone comes along, they would get paid again.”

Big questions do still surround the future of the team, though, with a letter sent to veteran F1 journalist Joe Saward by a former employee casting a dark shadow on events at Leafield over the past few months.

Now, all eyes will be on the backmarkers to see if they are fit to race in Abu Dhabi and whether there is a viable future in Formula 1 for the Caterham operation. It may be back from the brink, but there’s still a huge fight for the team to survive.

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.”