Mallya stresses sustainability in bid to ‘uncrap’ F1

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Force India team owner Vijay Mallya has called on Formula 1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone to work with teams to ‘uncrap’ the sport.

In a lively FIA press conference on Friday ahead of the British Grand Prix, representatives from six teams were asked about the changes proposed by the F1 Strategy Group earlier this week.

Lotus CEO Matthew Carter suggested that some of the onus should lie with the media to present the sport positively and remove the negativity surrounding its current state.

In response, it was suggested that this should extend to Ecclestone, who was has been a leading critic of the V6 turbo power units that were introduced to F1 in 2014.

A misquote from Ecclestone, as explained in this article from Autosport, led to the panel members being asked what they would do if their chief executive called their product “crap”.

In Mallya’s eyes, the best way to solve any negativity within F1 would be by fixing the issues – namely the sustainability of the sport for the smaller teams.

“He shouldn’t be selling the product if he thought it was crap,” Mallya said.

“But considering that he sells the product – that he calls crap and makes billions out of it – he needs to work with the participants to un-crap it!”

Mallya has long encouraged the prioritizing of sustainability when discussing the future of the sport, and he believes that if this were addressed, much of the uncertainty and subsequent negativity would disappear.

“I believe that all the positives of Formula 1 as a sport will be given more prominence if the fundamental issue, which everybody is speculating about – I’m sure many of us get asked these questions all the time – about ‘are you going to be around next year?'” Mallya said.

“This is a burning issue which teams themselves discuss at every possible opportunity and in every possible meeting, whether inside the strategy group or outside.

“So, as I said before, at this very press conference. If the stability of all participants in Formula 1 is addressed as a matter of priority, we will have more exciting racing and we will get a lot more positive media.”

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.