Brake issue denies Sainz remarkable comeback result

© Getty Images

24 hours before the start of the Russian Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz Jr. was sat in a hospital bed following one of the most frightening crashes of his racing career.

And yet by the time the checkered flag had been shown at the Sochi Autodrom, the Spaniard was left ruing a brake failure that had denied him a big haul of points and a remarkable comeback result.

Sainz had crashed into the barrier at turn 13 during practice on Saturday morning, recording a force of 46G. However, he remained perfectly conscious throughout the accident, with his extrication only taking longer than usual due to the position of the TecPro barriers.

After being taken to hospital for a full body scan and other checks, Sainz was discharged on Saturday night and given the green light to take part in the race on Sunday by the FIA, starting 20th.

A superb fight through the field saw Sainz rise to as high as P7 late on, only for a brake failure to send him spinning off the track twice and deny him a chance to record his best F1 finish to date.

“What a disappointing way to end what was being such a good race, but I have to say that I’m happy I could race after what happened yesterday,” Sainz said on Sunday.

“Today’s was a good performance in difficult conditions. I started from P20, pushed hard and suddenly I found myself in P7… We could’ve even ended in P6!

“Towards the end of the race I was warned to look after my brakes as the temperatures were very high and I was managing to do that while still racing at a good pace. Unfortunately, with only eight laps to go the brakes said ‘enough’ at Turn 13 and that was the end of my race.

“I have to be thankful to the whole team, they did a great job for me to be racing out there today after yesterday’s crash. The car was in perfect conditions. Now I will certainly get some rest during the next couple of days!”

Max Verstappen inadvertently benefited from Sainz’s issue, finishing 11th on track before being promoted to P10 when Fernando Alonso was handed a post-race penalty.

The Dutchman was disappointed after a first-lap clash forced him to pit for repairs and compromised the rest of his race.

“I’m disappointed,” Sainz said. “It certainly wasn’t the best of race starts, as I got clipped because the cars in front of me crashed and from then on it was a very difficult race.

“I had a lot of damage on the car, especially at the rear, and it wasn’t behaving as it should’ve been. It was very difficult for me to continue, but we tried to, hoping we could get back into the points, even though in the end it wasn’t possible.”

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
James Gilbert/Getty Images

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.