Ericsson frustrated to spin out early in Malaysia

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Marcus Ericsson has made no secret of his frustration after spinning out of Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix when fighting for position inside the top ten.

Ericsson’s sophomore season in F1 got off to an incredible start in Australia as he scored his first points in the sport, finishing eighth at Albert Park.

The Sauber driver followed this up by recording a career-best qualifying in Malaysia on Saturday, lining up ninth on the grid.

A good start saw him gain a position, but his race came to an early end when he spun into the gravel after trying to pass Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg for P7 on lap three of the race.

“It is a very frustrating end to a good weekend,” Ericsson said after the race. “I felt comfortable in the car straight away and had a good start during which I could make up one position.

“Nico must have had a good start as he was ahead of me, but I felt I had more pace than he did. When I tried to pass him down to turn one, I went for the move to the outside.

“I know it is possible to overtake there, but unfortunately I lost the rear, went off and got stuck in the gravel trap.

“Anyway, we need to take the positives out of this weekend, and I have learned from what happened in the race. In China we will be even stronger.”

To make matters worse for Sauber, Felipe Nasr also failed to score any points in Malaysia as he struggled to P12 at the flag behind Romain Grosjean.

The result marked a drastic turnaround in fortunes for the Brazilian, who had finished fifth on debut at the Australian Grand Prix two weeks earlier.

“It was overall a difficult weekend for me,” Nasr said. “I was struggling to find a good set-up for the car. We need to reflect and understand why we didn’t have enough pace.

“The race itself was not easy, as I had contact early on with Kimi [Raikkonen]. I should have avoided this incident, but it can happen sometimes when we are racing. Now we have to look forward to the next race weekend in China.”

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.