Hembery: Pirelli will not allow open compound choices

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Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery has rejected the idea of allowing teams to make their own tire compound choices in Formula 1, saying that the Italian manufacturer would not be willing to work with the sport if this were the case.

As part of a continued drive to try and improve ‘the show’ in F1, the idea of allowing teams to use any of the four compounds for races – super-soft, soft, medium and hard – was raised last week.

Currently, Pirelli brings the two most suitable compounds to races for the teams to use based on both the pace of the tire and the aggression of the circuit that is being raced on.

Speaking to MotorSportsTalk following the Spanish Grand Prix, Hembery made clear that Pirelli would not entertain the idea of open compound selection, believing that it could pose a safety risk.

“No, we’re not going to be doing that, it would be a no,” Hembery said. “You can’t because you’d have some idiots making decisions to run things to try and get performance.

“If it was 50 degrees like today and they were on super-softs, you’d have a car sat in the garage with either no tires left or tires breaking on the track.

“It will never be the team that chose the wrong tires, it will be Pirelli’s fault. We can’t have that, but we’re always willing to look for change if change is needed.

“You need to understand why you want to make a change and we’ll come up with something.”

Pirelli’s current contract to supply tires to Formula 1 expires at the end of the 2016 season, and is in the process of testing an 18-inch rim design as a possible part of the new technical regulations that are being planned for 2017.

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.”