Grosjean excited to see Lotus back in the top ten

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After scoring more points in the last two races than he managed in the entirety of the 2014 Formula 1 season, Romain Grosjean feels upbeat and excited heading to next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The Lotus team has enjoyed a turnaround in fortunes in 2015 after switching to Mercedes power units from Renault and designing an all-new car in the shape of the E23 Hybrid.

Due to technical problems on the car, Grosjean was unable to score points in the opening two races of the year, but bounced back to finish seventh in both China and Bahrain, comfortably inside the top ten.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Grosjean said when asked about Lotus’ competition in 2015. “We see some good races with us fighting hard in the pack. Up front we’ve seen some good dicing and Ferrari have shown that Mercedes is not invincible.

“In terms of performance we have achieved a one hundred percent record in reaching Q3 which is a very good result. We could have done more in the first two races had we not had a few issues but I think that we got everything right from China onwards.”

Grosjean believes that Lotus’ strong qualifying form has been instrumental in its success so far this year, and is excited to see the updates that the team is bringing to Spain to try and help him fight even further up the field.

“It’s very good to be in the top ten in qualifying and then play with the strategy in the race,” Grosjean said. “I’m happy with the points we have scored these last couple of races, let’s now get more at every race and continue to improve.

“We’ve had a couple of weeks since Bahrain and it’s only a short flight from Enstone to the circuit so there’s been a decent amount of time for some more developments to the car.”

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.”