Red Bull still hoping for alternative F1 engine in 2017

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Red Bull Racing advisor Helmut Marko has revealed that the team is still hopeful of securing an alternative engine for the 2017 Formula 1 season despite confirming its engine plans for next year.

Red Bull became embroiled in a long-running engine saga in 2015 that saw the team push for a switch to Mercedes, Ferrari or Honda power units due to its dissatisfaction with the work of existing partner Renault.

Marko (pictured left) was very vocal on the matter, issuing a number of quit threats and public warnings to Renault, but Red Bull will continue to use a power unit produced by the French manufacturer in 2016, albeit named ‘TAG Heuer’ after the watch company.

However, Marko revealed that the team is still hoping to secure an alternative engine for 2017 upon the expiration of its deal with Renault if it cannot sufficiently develop its new power unit.

“We still hope for an alternate engine from 2017,” Marko told Red Bull-owned publication Speedweek. “Or Renault develops itself so well in 2016 that you can agree an extension.”

F1 bosses Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone are known to be chasing the introduction of a cheaper client engine for 2017, and were given a mandate by the FIA earlier this week to push through any required changes.

There were concerns over Red Bull’s participation in the first pre-season test in Barcelona, due to start on February 22, due to the engine delay, but Marko is adamant that the team will make it.

“We had to cope with a two-month delay, but we will do it,” Marko said. “We will be in Barcelona.”

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing

Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”