Perez: Force India announcement due by Suzuka

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Sergio Perez has said that ongoing contract negotiations with Force India are “looking good” and that an announcement is due before the Japanese Grand Prix next weekend.

Perez is poised to remain with Force India for a third season in 2016, with both the driver and the team saying in Italy two weeks ago that an announcement would be made before the Singapore Grand Prix.

The F1 paddock has since arrived in Singapore, though, and still no announcement has been made, prompting many to question what had caused the hold-up.

Speaking to NBCSN ahead of the race weekend, Perez said that although the announcement was supposed to have been made already, his contract for next season is still looking good and should be confirmed in the next week.

“It’s supposed to, yes,” Perez said when asked whether an announcement should have been made.

“It’s looking good. I said in Monza that I was going to announce things here, but hopefully now for Suzuka.”

The Mexican driver is relishing the unique challenge posed by the race in Singapore, taking place in hot and humid conditions that stretch drivers’ physical limits.

“I really enjoy this place,” Perez said. “This place is so demanding, and the way you prepare yourself physically is so different to any other track.

“I work a lot on the heat and on just getting used to heat. The race here is very demanding just to finish it physically. It’s a combination of things. Mentally it’s very demanding, and physically. I’m just looking forward to it.”

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.