Alexander Rossi thanks Manor for support after losing F1 seat

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American driver Alexander Rossi thanked Manor Racing for its support after losing his Formula 1 drive with the team on Thursday.

Rossi became the first American in eight years to race in an F1 grand prix when he replaced Roberto Merhi at Manor for five of the final seven rounds of the 2015 season.

Rossi made a positive impact in his short spell, matching the team’s best result of the year by finishing 12th in the United States Grand Prix, as well as finishing second in the GP2 Series drivers’ championship with three race wins for Racing Engineering.

Rossi had remained confident throughout the winter that he would be on the grid in 2016, but is now without a seat after Manor completed its line-up with Indonesia’s Rio Haryanto on Thursday.

Haryanto will form an all-rookie line-up alongside Mercedes junior driver Pascal Wehrlein, who joins by virtue of Manor’s new technical partnership with the German manufacturer.

Rossi took to Twitter shortly after Manor’s announcement to thank the team for its support, and said that positive news would soon follow.

“Thank you for your incredible support Manor Racing for the opportunities given,” Rossi wrote. “Positive news coming soon #StayTuned.”

Rossi had been in discussions with Dale Coyne Racing regarding an IndyCar seat at the beginning of 2015 before moving into GP2, and with a ride still open alongside Conor Daly for 2016, it could be an option once again.

Regardless, with the grid now set in Formula 1 for 2016, the wait for an American driver in the series will now resume.

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.”