Former F1 driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen still behind the wheel — of a hearse!

0 Comments

When they retire, pro race car drivers are typically set for life.

But at least one former Formula One driver not only is still racing, he’s also driving dead bodies to their final resting place.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen was a decent enough F1 driver. From 1994 through 2003, driving for Sauber, Williams, Jordan (which he had the most success with) and Prost, he made 155 starts in F1 and recorded three wins (Imola, Magny-Cours and Monza), 18 podium finishes and had a decent starting average of 8.9 and finishing average of 10.9.

Back in his hometown of Monchengladbach, Germany, the now 47-year-old Frentzen has tried to stay busy. Most recently, he’s been racing a Mercedes in Germany’s GT Masters Series.

But according to the Kolner Express newspaper, Frentzen will likely be sidelined much of the 2015 season recovering from extensive knee surgery that he underwent recently.

The original injury to his knee actually occurred while racing on the F1 circuit in 1999 when, while driving for Team Jordan, he wrecked in a race in Canada.

After 15 years of living with the pain, he finally decided to undergo surgery to repair it, even if it means not racing for up to a full year.

“My knee is still swollen and tender and I have to be careful,” Frentzen told Kolner Express. “It’s my braking leg and in GT Masters you need to brake very hard.”

So, looking for something new to do, he’s gone back to one of the odd jobs he’s had over the years – driving a funeral hearse for and helping out in other ways for his family’s mortuary.

“It’s true,” Frentzen said. “Even in my Formula One career, from time to time I helped my father with the business and now I’m helping my sister Nadine-Nicole.”

Frentzen’s father, Harald, died earlier this year and Nadine-Nicole has assumed control over the funeral home.

But you have to give a lot of credit to both Frentzen and his sister. When they take the recently departed to their final resting place, they go in style: a converted E-Class Mercedes hearse.

(Somehow, we just have to figure Heinz-Harald has done a little tweaking to the powerful motor.)

Whether that means Frentzen likes to give his “riders” one last high-speed ride isn’t clear, but he is taking his new role in stride.

“I’m actually retired and at the moment I don’t mind not racing in 2015,” Frentzen said. “But one should never say never.”

I guess that applies for both racing and funeral processions.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
James Gilbert/Getty Images
0 Comments

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.