Austin set for heavy rain across US GP weekend

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The United States Grand Prix weekend is poised to be a wet one thanks to the biggest rain event to hit Texas in many months.

That is the summation of Formula 1’s official weather forecaster, UBIMET, which issued its prediction for the coming race weekend at the Circuit of The Americas on Wednesday.

Austin has not been hit by any prolonged showers since August, but that looks set to change this weekend as all three days of on-track action are forecast to be affected by rain.

Here is a breakdown of the weather forecast courtesy of UBIMET:

Friday 23 October – FP1 and FP2

“At the start of the Formula-1-weekend on Friday, heavy, partly thundery rain is expected throughout the day in Greater Austin.

“‘During both sessions, Practice 1 and Practice 2, the racers will see quite damp and wet conditions on the track’, predicts Formula 1 Chief Meteorologist Steffen Dietz.

“Due to the compact clouds and the rain, temperatures won’t change too much during the day. After 22 degrees in the morning they will rise up to 25 degrees in the afternoon.

Saturday 24 October – FP3 and Qualifying

“On Saturday, a strong frontal system will arrive in Austin and cater for very unsettled weather. Overcast skies and partly heavy rain with high precipitation rates will affect the track, particularly before noon.

“‘During the afternoon some further, but weaker showers are still expected, so the starting grid could easily be jumbled by the rain too,’ says Dietz.

“Again, a maximum value of 24 degrees is reached in the afternoon.”

Sunday 25 October – Race

“Sunday will see again abundant clouds with probably some isolated showers. However, their intensity should not be comparable to the amounts of the two previous days at all.

“In any case, the race could see one of these showers hitting the track. Temperatures will slightly drop after the frontal passage, reaching highs of 22 degrees at most.

“The moderate-to-fresh northerly winds will lead to not-so-comfortable conditions for the spectators.”

The US GP at COTA has only been affected by adverse weather conditions once in its previous three editions, when fog caused the beginning of FP1 for the 2013 race to be delayed as the medical helicopter could not take off.

There have been numerous occasions where rain has struck during the US GP before. Here’s three of them for your viewing pleasure:

Michael Schumacher scored a crucial win in wet conditions during the 2003 race:

Gilles Villeneuve won a highly wet 1979 race at Watkins Glen:

James Hunt won in the wet at Watkins Glen in 1977:

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.