Gutierrez to race with fresh chassis in Bahrain

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Esteban Gutierrez will race with a fresh chassis in next weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix while the one he used in Australia is sent back to Haas Formula 1 Team’s base to be fixed.

Gutierrez crashed out of his first grand prix in almost 18 months after being hit by Fernando Alonso from behind as both cars suffered significant damage.

Gutierrez walked away unharmed from the shunt, but the same could not be said of his chassis, with team principal Günther Steiner confirming that it had been sent back to Haas’ UK base for repairs.

“Some of the parts, for example the chassis, were sent back to Europe to be checked and fixed because we can’t do it onsite in Bahrain,” Steiner said.

“We have enough spare parts to build up another chassis, so we will use that. Then the chassis that is repaired will be sent to Bahrain via air to serve as our spare.

“The guys will have to work day and night to get to Bahrain, but it’s all doable. Our spare quantity is down, but we have enough to get going again, so we will just keep on working.”

Despite not finishing the opening race of the season in Australia, Gutierrez was pleased with the progress that Haas made and feels it can be built upon in Bahrain.

“As a whole experience it was a positive weekend, apart from the unfortunate incident we had during the race,” Gutierrez said reflecting on Australia.

“We did a very good job as a team. Obviously, scoring points leaves a lot of confidence for the whole team, but still we have plenty of work to do.

“I think, in general, we can go to Bahrain making our next step forward as a team. In both organization and communication there has not been much time for the team to breathe because of the hard work in building the car and testing in Barcelona and then the first grand prix.

“Hopefully, we can consolidate things and get everything done and try to make the best of our potential.”

The Bahrain Grand Prix is live on NBCSN next weekend.

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.”