Ecclestone doubts Nürburgring will host German GP in 2017

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Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has doubts over the planned return of the Nürburgring to the sport’s calendar in 2017.

The German Grand Prix dropped off the calendar for 2015 after officials at the Nürburgring failed to strike a deal with Ecclestone, reducing the schedule down to 19 races.

Although the German Grand Prix is set to return in 2016 at Hockenheim as part of the agreement between the tracks to rotate hosting duties, Ecclestone doubts the race will be on the calendar once again in 2017 due to the financial uncertainty facing the Nürburgring.

“I don’t believe that this will happen,” Ecclestone told Motorsport-Magazin. “We can say for sure, that there will be no race.”

Ecclestone laments the Nürburgring’s decision not to sell him the track around two years ago after he was outbid, believing its future would have been more secure in his hands.

“It’s a pity, because when the Nürburgring was for sale, I agreed to buy it,” Ecclestone said. “They came back to me and told me that they have a better offer, maybe one or two million higher than my offer.

“I said: ‘I made only one offer. If somebody wants to pay more, sell it to him.’ They’ve sold it to a person and this person resold it.

“The stupidity was, because of two million, they’ve lost somebody who had guaranteed that there would have been races for 100 years and who would have tried to improve the things.

“They ran away for a few dollars more.”

The Nürburgring last hosted the German Grand Prix in 2013, and stated last month that it was in discussions with Ecclestone to ensure it returned to the F1 calendar in 2017 as planned.

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.”