Gutierrez learned ‘a lot of lessons’ from Vettel, Raikkonen at Ferrari

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Esteban Gutierrez may have spent the majority of 2015 outside of a racing car as Ferrari’s reserve driver, but the Mexican driver learned plenty while working under world champions Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen ahead of his full-time return to Formula 1 in 2016.

Gutierrez walked away from Sauber at the end of 2014 following two full seasons in F1 that yielded just six points following a solitary seventh-place finish at the 2013 Japanese Grand Prix.

The Mexican driver spent the next year with Ferrari in a reserve role, but will return to the grid in 2016 after joining the new Haas F1 Team for its debut season.

Speaking to reporters during his first visit to Haas’ main base in Kannapolis, North Carolina, Gutierrez spoke about his time with Ferrari and said that he learned plenty while working with Vettel and Raikkonen.

When asked how much he spoke with Vettel and Raikkonen, Gutierrez said: “A lot.

“I don’t think that any driver will give you direct advice, because obviously at some point, you become a competitor.

“But it’s true, first to be in the position of a third driver with Ferrari with two world champions like Sebastian and Kimi, and also for them to open the doors for me to have the access to the information, and to have conversations together about the car – the feelings, their opinion – it has given me a lot of perspective. A lot of lessons.

“Because obviously, I was there sitting and had time to observe, to look and to take all the positives from each of them and use that for my experience.”

Despite not being a core part of the Ferrari setup in 2016, Gutierrez still enjoys a good relationship with the Italian marque and is sure he has a successful future at Maranello.

“Yes, I still have good relationships with the teams I’ve raced for, especially with Ferrari,” Gutierrez said.

“We had a fantastic year last season, and we developed a very good relationship together. We’ll be working together through the engines and gearbox.

“So that’s something that makes it very special that I can continue that relationship through a team that I have a big belief, and we have good years ahead.”

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.