Bottas determined to beat Raikkonen to P4

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Valtteri Bottas is determined to end the 2015 Formula 1 season on a high by hanging on to fourth place in the drivers’ championship at next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Bottas enters the final race of the year just one point clear of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen in the standings.

Despite not having any major honors to fight for in Abu Dhabi, Bottas insists that he is still determined to finish the year as high as possible in the championship and keep Raikkonen behind him.

“I know many people would say it’s not important to finish fourth, fifth, or sixth in the championship but I don’t look at it that way,” Bottas wrote in his Williams blog.

“For me every position is important. I want to finish as high up in the championship as possible and, for me, that’s the way to go.

“It’s certainly going to be close in Abu Dhabi because whoever finishes in front of the other will get that fourth place.

“It’s going to be an exciting race, for sure. We were very competitive there last year, so let’s hope it will be the same in two weeks.”

The Bottas/Raikkonen battle has been one of the recurring battles of the second half of the year that has seen them come together on track twice.

In Russia, Raikkonen punted Bottas into the wall on the last lap as he tried to pass for third place, but the Ferrari driver retired in Mexico after another incident with his compatriot.

Bottas enters the final race of the year with only himself to look after after Williams clinched third in the constructors’ championship in Brazil.

“At the end of what was not a very exciting race for me, our results secured third place in the constructors’ Championship for Williams and that was something to celebrate,” Bottas said.

“Even for the drivers, the result in the constructors’ championships means a lot because it’s nice to secure the best possible position. It’s the same final position as last year, so I’m proud that even with a smaller team we can fight with the biggest teams.

“That’s good but we all want more. We need to say thank you to all the people in the race team and at the factory for all the hard work, but also to Mercedes for their engines. Without them we couldn’t do this, but we are a team that wants to win, so we want more.”

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.