Lotus confident Renault takeover will go ahead

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Lotus CEO Matthew Carter remains confident that Renault’s proposed takeover of the British team will go ahead despite the deal still being yet to be confirmed.

Renault signed a letter of intent ahead of a buy-out of Lotus back in September, saving the team from administration and ensuring that it remained on the grid.

However, since this announcement was made, little more has been said by either Lotus or Renault regarding the deal, sparking speculation that the deal may be on the rocks.

In an interview with the official Formula 1 website, Carter remained confident that the deal will go ahead, but did concede that the team is still planning for life without Renault just in case talks break down.

“Renault issued a letter of intent, so behind the scenes the Renault and Lotus senior management are working flat out to make sure that we get the deal done,” Carter said.

“Things are progressing, but these things take time. I am confident that the deal is going to happen, but as I said, it needs time to get it across.

“We know that in business anything can happen and as long as there are no signatures on the documents the deal is not concluded – but confidence is very high.

“We have two options for an engine next year: either we go with Mercedes or Renault. We are progressing along that route. We’ve got two designs for next year’s car and we are pushing forward with both options.”

The time taken for Lotus and Renault to even provisionally agree a deal prompted lead driver Romain Grosjean to sign for Haas F1 Team for 2016, ending a long-running association with the Enstone-based operation.

However, Carter believes that Grosjean is in need of a new challenge, and is instead focusing on the new driver pairing of Jolyon Palmer and Pastor Maldonado for 2016.

“Romain is a great driver and he has been with us for a long time,” Carter said. “He is very professional and he always delivers for the team and I don’t know the ins and outs of his deal with Haas, but as far as I can see he is looking for a new challenge.

“He goes with our blessing – and hopefully we can move on with Jolyon and Pastor next year the way that we want to.”

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.