Rosberg downbeat despite gaining on Hamilton in Singapore

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Nico Rosberg may have cut 12 points out of Lewis Hamilton’s lead at the top of the Formula 1 drivers’ championship in Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix, but the German driver was more concerned by Mercedes’ lack of pace at Marina Bay.

Throughout practice and qualifying in Singapore, Mercedes failed to challenge Ferrari and Red Bull for pace at the front of the field, leaving Hamilton and Rosberg fifth and sixth for the start of the race on Sunday.

Hamilton was forced to retire after 32 laps thanks to an issue on his power unit, giving Rosberg the chance to capitalize and carve into his 53-point lead in the championship.

Mercedes had hoped to make up for its lack of pace by putting Rosberg on an alternative strategy to the front-runners, but the German was forced to follow their lead by making an early second pit stop under a safety car caused by an intruder on the track.

Speaking after the race, Rosberg said that he hoped Mercedes’ struggles were a one-off and not a sign of things to come for the remainder of the season.

“Singapore was a disappointing weekend for my team,” Rosberg said. “We were far off the pace the whole weekend and Lewis’ car had to retire.

“I really hope that these were unique circumstances and our car didn’t suit the track and conditions. The problem is that we don’t really understand why Red Bull and Ferrari were so much quicker here.

“The start of the race was a bit chaotic. In the installation laps my engine went off a few times, so I couldn’t do the same start procedure, which I practised 100 times. I had to adapt but it worked out okay, so I was able to keep the positions.

“P4 was the maximum today, so we have a lot of work to do for Suzuka to understand what went wrong.”

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.