Sauber optimistic Ferrari upgrades will push team forward at Spa

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Sauber will look to increase its points haul at Spa this weekend, thanks to a couple targeted upgrades introduced by engine partner Ferrari.

A Spa-specific front wing and more powerful power unit are coming on board the the C34 chassis, driven by Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson.

“[We are] looking forward to stronger performances thanks to a number of upgrades that will be progressively introduced,” head of track engineering, Giampaolo Dall’Ara said in the team’s pre-race advance. “At Spa both C34 will be fitted with more powerful Ferrari power units and track specific wings.

“Traction and braking, although, as usual, important, are second to stability and reactiveness, therefore rather specific set-ups are being worked out.”

Spa has been a bit of a bogey track for Sauber in recent years.

The team has not scored a point in the Belgian Grand Prix since Kamui Kobayashi came eighth in the 2010 race. The last four years has not seen a finish better than 12th (Kobayashi in 2011).

Sauber scored 14 points at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, but has added only eight more over the last nine races.

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.