Formula E: Misfortune still playing on Heidfeld’s mind

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Nick Heidfeld’s racing career has been a never-ending story of missed opportunities and bad luck, it seems.

The German driver holds the unwanted record of the most F1 podium finishes without winning a race, and even in his debut season in Formula E, he’s been coming unstuck time and time again.

Heidfeld was in the running to win the inaugural race in Beijing before a last-lap crash with Nicolas Prost, and was then disqualified from the next race in Malaysia.

Points did follow in Punta del Este and Buenos Aires, but further incidents have left the former Williams and BMW Sauber F1 driver stewing.

“These events are unfortunately still on my mind and you should try and always look at things positively but it is quite hard to take,” Heidfeld told fiaformulae.com. “Things should have been very good without all these incidents, but could have, should have doesn’t count for anything, even less in sport.

“So yes, it is frustrating at the moment, especially knowing that we have good pace. Of course we’re working hard in order to ensure we have a strong car again for the next races. We’ve missed a lot of good opportunities.”

Venturi currently sits bottom of the championship standings with just eight points to its name, but Heidfeld is confident that the team has made some good steps forward and can be in better shape for the next ePrix in Miami next month.

“I think we’ve made big improvements over the course of the season, both on the team and the set-up side,” Heidfeld said. “I think we’ve quite publically stated the test after Punta del Este was crucial for us as we found massive improvement there.

“I think we didn’t show as much as we’d hoped at the next race [in Buenos Aires], but it’s to be expected as you can’t always translate everything you find on one circuit to the other.

“We’ve been quick in the races all season long but we’ve been lacking in the qualifying, so this was one of the objectives of the Punta test. We made a step forward there.”

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.”