Sirotkin keen to balance GP2 with F1 reserve role

© GP2 Series

GP2 driver Sergey Sirotkin hopes to balance a full season in GP2 with a reserve role in Formula 1 next year after enjoying an impressive campaign in the feeder series in 2015.

Sirotkin first came to attention in F1 when he joined Sauber as a development driver in 2013 at the age of 17.

Sauber originally planned to prepare Sirotkin to step up to a full-time race seat, but he ultimately left the team at the end of 2014 after taking part in just one practice session.

The Russian moved into GP2 for 2015 with Rapax and enjoyed a successful year, finishing third as the top rookie in the final standings behind champion Stoffel Vandoorne and American racer Alexander Rossi.

Speaking to Russia’s Sportbox, Sirotkin confirmed that he will remain in GP2 next year, but hopes to balance his racing commitments with a reserve role at an F1 team.

“I am glad that I will continue to race in GP2,” Sirotkin said. “Next season, my goal is the title – after third place there can be nothing else to aim for.

“We have a definite offer [for an F1 reserve role], and not just one, but we all understand what it rests upon. If we find the required financial support, maybe I’ll be a test driver in F1.

“There is an opportunity, and perhaps we’re even closer to this goal than some others.”

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.”