Button admits to exaggerating McLaren issues in Spain

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Jenson Button has admitted that he may have exaggerated McLaren’s problems at the Spanish Grand Prix two weeks ago when he said that the car was “scary to drive”.

Button endured a difficult race in Barcelona, finishing 16th as the team’s tough start to life with Honda power units continued into the European season.

Speaking after the race, the Briton made no secret of his frustration, even going as far to say that the team would not score any points in 2015 if its fortunes did not change.

However, Button admitted in Wednesday’s FIA press conference ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend that he had overplayed the team’s issues, and that many of his concerns were allayed in the two-day test that followed the race in Barcelona.

“Yeah, as you might have noticed, I was very outspoken,” Button said. “When emotions are running high you always exaggerate things. It was a tough race for me in Barcelona.

“It was good to have the test three days later, also in Barcelona, to really put everything right. The car felt much nice to drive, much more consistent, especially on the long-run pace. We also had some new parts to test for this season, but also specifically for here.

“So, really end of the test, happy and you could see how far we have come since February, as a whole team but especially Honda and the Japanese side of the team.

“There was so much more confidence within and really happy to complete the amount of laps we did but also to do a lot of very useful work. It was a really good day and hopefully we can carry that through to this weekend.”

Button won the Monaco Grand Prix back in 2009, and spoke about the importance of qualifying on the Saturday ahead of the race, saying that he felt his pole position was wholly conducive to his race win.

“I think Monaco, as we all know, it’s very difficult to overtake,” Button said. So Saturday is probably more important than Sunday.

“Probably the most important pole position I’ve ever had, yeah, and that really made my weekend.”

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.