Horner: Newey still highly influential at Red Bull

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Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner has explained how former chief technical officer and car designer Adrian Newey remains highly influential amid the team’s struggles in 2015.

After winning three races en route to second place in the constructors’ championship last year, Red Bull has endured a difficult start to 2015, dealing with a number of engine problems and technical issues.

Newey has masterminded the success of Williams, McLaren and Red Bull over the past twenty years in F1, but took a step back from his role at the end of last season to focus on other projects.

In an interview with the official Formula 1 website, Horner said that Newey still remained very involved in the design of the RB11 car and is playing a role in helping the team to find pace and move up the field.

“We need to improve the car, but we have compromized the set-up a lot to address other issues that we have,” Horner said.

“So you end up in a vicious circle, less downforce etc., which creates other problems. We are not in an optimal position with the RB11 yet, but it is definitely an Adrian car.

“Yes, he has taken a step back but he is involved in the RB11 as in every previous car. The difference will come from RB12 onwards.

“He is not that close any more, but he was in Bahrain. He is still mentoring and guiding the technical team.”

Teams are restricted to just four power units per season, but Red Bull has already used three in the first four races due to the issues it has faced.

Horner confirmed that the ten F1 teams have agreed to raise the limit to five for the 2015 season, but says that even this won’t be enough to stop the team from facing penalties later in the year.

“For sure we are going to use more than four,” Horner said. “We’ve used three in three races, so the chances of us staying within the limit of four is close to zero.

“The teams agreed unanimously in Malaysia to introduce a fifth engine, but the engine penalties will affect others too – not only us.

“For us we would need that number to increase to seven, eight or nine engines for the season. Unfortunately these are the rules and we are not looking great within these rules.

“Hopefully these rules will become more realistic in the future.”

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing

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.”