Michael Andretti baffled by “stupid money” in F1

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Michael Andretti has become the latest critic of the spiralling costs that are currently marring Formula 1, saying that the sport is “a mess right now”.

Andretti expressed his thoughts about the current state of F1 in an interview with Top Gear at the launch of the Amlin Andretti team ahead of the second Formula E season in London earlier this week.

“It’s a mess right now, I’d say,” Andretti said. “They made a mistake allowing engineers to come up with all the rules and everything.

“I mean, it’s still the biggest racing sport in the world, and it has a huge following, but they need to make some changes.”

F1 is currently in the midst of a cost crisis that has caused two teams to fold in the past three years. Four active teams have also faced some kind of financial uncertainty in the past 12 months, prompting many to warn against the spiralling cost of racing in the sport.

Andretti believes that the sport should focus on returning to its roots, making the cars difficult to drive and exciting for fans to watch once again whilst also pushing to drive costs down.

“They need to go back to the rules,” the American said. “They’ve made these things way too expensive.

“With this new engine, they’ve basically doubled the leases for what it costs customer teams to run these things.

“It’s stupid money, and for what?

“Then of course you continually hear the complaints of the cars being too quiet, and that they’re too easy to drive.

“They need to change the rules, get it back to where a Formula One car is hard to drive, and it’s faster than anything out there.”

Andretti raced in F1 for McLaren back in 1993, and believes that the British team will bounce back from its current struggles with power unit supplier Honda, who also powers Andretti Autosport in IndyCar.

“I think Honda is putting in a big effort and I would never count them out,” Andretti said. “They’re our partners in IndyCar and they’re very aggressive and don’t like losing. I assume they’ll turn it around.”

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.”