Merhi excluded from Formula Renault 3.5 races for causing crash after checkered flag (VIDEO)

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Manor F1 driver Roberto Merhi will take no part in the second Formula Renault 3.5 race at the Red Bull Ring on Sunday afternoon after causing a bizarre accident after the checkered flag earlier today.

After crossing the line in fourth place, Merhi – driving with Pons Racing in the F1 feeder series – slowed down dramatically.

Fifth-placed Nicholas Latifi was unable to avoid the Spaniard after taking the checkered flag, slamming into the back of his car with considerable force.

Thankfully, both drivers walked way unharmed, although the same could not be said of their cars.

The stewards moved swiftly to hand Merhi a ten second time penalty for causing the accident, dropping him to 11th place in the race one classification.

They then followed this by excluding him from both the first race and the second round at the Red Bull Ring, which is set to take place later this evening.

The first race was won by British driver Oliver Rowland, extending his lead at the top of the championship standings. Red Bull junior driver Dean Stoneman finished second ahead of McLaren youngster Nyck de Vries in third.

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.