Bottas flattered by speculation linking him to Ferrari

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Valtteri Bottas has admitted that he is flattered by reports linking him with a move to Scuderia Ferrari in the future, but remains adamant that it is too early to make any decision about his future in Formula 1.

Bottas was one of the breakout stars of the 2014 season, finishing fourth in the championship as he spearheaded Williams’ revival and charge to P3 in the constructors’ standings.

His performances did not go unnoticed, with reports arising ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix that said he had signed a pre-contract agreement to join Ferrari as Kimi Raikkonen’s replacement.

Although Bottas and his management denied this, Mercedes team boss and former driver manager Toto Wolff was full of praise the Finn, saying that it was no surprise that bigger teams would be interested in Bottas.

“It’s always really nice to hear those kind of things, but it’s still too early to say anything about next year,” Bottas told NBCSN.

“I need to focus at this moment, that’s the best I can do for me and for the team. It’s just too early. I don’t know about the future. We’ll see.”

Bottas is without a firm contract for the 2016 season and admitted that he was flattered by interest from bigger teams. However, he was quick to stress the important role that Williams had played in his F1 career.

“I think it’s always really flattering to hear that some other top teams are interested, but also Williams is a great team,” Bottas said.

“I’m really lucky to be part of this because in the end, they gave me the opportunity to get to Formula 1, so you shouldn’t write that off.”

With Lewis Hamilton now securing his future with a new contract at Mercedes, possible moves for Bottas and Raikkonen are poised to become the talking points of the F1 driver market for the 2016 season.

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.”