Hamilton anticipating a harder fight for F1 title in 2015

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Lewis Hamilton believes that he will face a stiffer challenge for this year’s Formula 1 drivers’ championship after both Ferrari and Red Bull displayed impressive pace during pre-season testing.

Hamilton claimed his second drivers’ title in 2014 as Mercedes proved to be the class of the field, claiming a record-breaking 16 wins and 19 pole positions across the course of the season.

Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg proved to be Hamilton’s main rival in 2014, but the Briton is unsure whether the team will enjoy a similar advantage this year as the pecking order remains unclear heading into the new season.

“I’ve not been looking at the others,” he said. “[Pastor] Maldonado was quick today but I’m sure everyone was on different tires and different fuel loads.

“I anticipate Ferrari look quite strong, similar to Red Bull, but I don’t really know where we are amongst those. I think we’ll have a better understanding next week because everyone will bring their upgrade for the first race. I anticipate a harder fight this year. That’s what I’m anticipating.”

Hamilton said that Mercedes is still working hard to try and find the sweet spot with its new W06 Hybrid car, saying that there is always room for improvement during the testing period.

“Testing every year gets shorter and shorter and there’s always more that you could have done,” Hamilton said. “Today the weather wasn’t great. The tires weren’t in the working window so it’s very difficult to rely on setup changes and the feeling you got from them.”

Nico Rosberg will close out the second test in Barcelona for Mercedes on Sunday, with the final four-day test kicking off next Thursday.

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.