Hydraulic leak leaves Grosjean frustrated after qualifying


Romain Grosjean’s hopes of another strong result for Lotus in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix on Saturday were ended after a hydraulic leak prevented him from setting a lap time during Q3.

Grosjean has led the team’s revival in 2015 with the all-new E23 Hybrid car, scoring 17 points in the opening seven races of the season.

After getting into Q3 on Saturday at the Red Bull Ring, the Frenchman had been hoping to replicate his fifth-place finish during qualifying in Canada two weeks ago.

However, a problem on his car meant that he was unable to get out for a single lap in Q3, leaving him tenth in the final standings.

“That was frustrating as we should be qualifying higher than P9,” Grosjean said. “I went out for Q3 but it was immediately apparent that there was an issue and the team called me back in.

“It was a hydraulic leak which we thought we could fix, but sadly we just missed out on going out again. Starting from P9 is not the end of the world and it could be an interesting race tomorrow.

“I’ll be pushing all the way to make up as many places as possible.”

Grosjean makes up a place on the grid for tomorrow’s race by virtue of Daniil Kvyat’s grid penalty, whilst Lotus teammate Pastor Maldonado moves up to P10.

“It was quite a busy qualifying session with the track drying and everyone trying to get their fast laps in when the surface was at its best,” Maldonado said.

“Unfortunately we weren’t able to get a clean, fast lap at the vital moment to get into the top ten, but at least we are the first of the cars able to choose our starting tires tomorrow. It’s a great track here so we could still score a great result.”

The Austrian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7:30am ET on Sunday.

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.”