Perez keen to remain at Force India for 2016 season

0 Comments

Sergio Perez is keen to remain with Force India for the 2016 Formula 1 season, and expects to make an announcement about his plans before the Singapore Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

Force India announced at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that Perez had signed a new multi-year deal with the team, but is yet to confirm him for the 2016 season.

Earlier this week, it was confirmed that Perez’s teammate Nico Hulkenberg had signed a new two-year contract with Force India, ensuring he will remain with the team until the end of 2017.

Perez had been linked with a move away from Force India for 2016, with Renault – who is set to take over Lotus F1 Team in the coming weeks – being tipped as a possible destination.

Speaking to reporters in Monza ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, Perez revealed that he was keen to stay with Force India and expects a new deal to be announced soon.

“The news is coming quite soon,” Perez said. “I have a contract with the team, as you know I have a group of sponsors and we’re trying to make the announcement altogether.

“We are getting to the point where very soon things should be announced, my plans should be announced hopefully before the next race.

“I am not looking at options anywhere else. I have a contract with Force India, my priority is to stay here.”

Perez joined Force India for the 2014 season after an ill-fated one-year stint at McLaren as Lewis Hamilton’s replacement that saw him struggle to adapt to life with the British team.

However, the Mexican driver has since excelled at Force India, scoring the team’s second-ever podium finish in Bahrain last year. He currently ranks 11th in the 2015 drivers’ championship.

Should Force India retain Perez, it would mean that at least five of the teams on the grid will be racing with the same line-up as 2015 for 2016.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
4 Comments

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.”