Ferrari avoids penalty for Raikkonen’s unsafe pit release

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Scuderia Ferrari has escaped a post-race penalty after unsafely releasing Kimi Raikkonen from the pits during today’s Australian Grand Prix.

Raikkonen had been set for a top five finish in Melbourne, only for his mechanics to fail to attach his left-rear tire at his final pit stop.

The Finn was forced to park his car up at the side of the track shortly after exiting the pit lane on lap 41, ending Ferrari’s chances of a double-points score.

The FIA stewards confirmed at the time that they would investigate the incident following the race, with stricter penalties being proposed for unsafe releases in the pit lane this year.

However, in a statement issued following the race, it was confirmed that Ferrari would face no penalty.

“The team explained that the system used to monitor pit stops gave no indication that the car was in an unsafe condition when released and the team caused the driver to stop the car immediately once the problem was apparent from the driver and the telemetry,” the stewards said.

“The team had paid close attention to the telemetry after the actions of the team members involved in the pit stop, and further that the FIA technical delegate accepted the car was not in an unsafe condition when released, the stewards took no further action.”

Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene was disappointed with how Raikkonen’s race ended after the Finn had enjoyed a strong display before the incident.

“I am sorry for Kimi, because everyone could see how strong he was in the race,” Arrivabene said. “But at the second pit stop, there was a problem with a wheelnut on which the threads had already been crossed during the first one.

“We realized there was a possible problem and we decided to stop the car immediately, because safety is the number one priority.”

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.