Tost: Tight for Toro Rosso to be ready for first 2016 test

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Scuderia Toro Rosso chief Franz Tost has admitted that the team faces a race against time to be ready for the first Formula 1 pre-season test in 2016.

Toro Rosso and parent team Red Bull both faced uncertainty for 2016 due to issues with existing engine partner Renault over the quality of its power unit.

Red Bull ultimately opted to remain with Renault power units for 2016, albeit rebadged as TAG Heuer, but Toro Rosso will switch to a 2015-spec Ferrari model.

The deal was formally announced on Friday, allowing the team to confirm its place on the grid in 2016 and the retention of drivers Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr.

However, team principal Tost admitted that the late signing of the deal with Ferrari has placed great pressure on all at Faenza to get the STR11 car ready for the first test in Barcelona on February 22.

“It’s great to be working with Ferrari again,” Tost said. “We had a fruitful relationship in the past and I’m sure it won’t take long for us all to be working together very well again.

“It’s true that time will be very tight for us to be ready for the first test, but we have the right team of people for this and I’m confident that together we will achieve a competitive package for next year – bring on 2016!”

Red Bull was also offered the 2015-spec Ferrari power unit, but rejected the deal after also seeing talks with Mercedes and Honda break down.

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

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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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.”