Di Grassi extends Formula E championship lead with Paris win

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PARIS – Lucas di Grassi extended his lead at the top of the FIA Formula E drivers’ championship with a controlled victory in the inaugural Paris ePrix on Saturday.

A perfect getaway from second place on the grid allowed di Grassi to slip past pole-sitter Sam Bird on the run down to the first corner, from where the Brazilian only lost P1 through the pit stops.

Di Grassi spent the opening half of the race forging a lead over DS Virgin Racing drivers Bird and Jean-Eric Vergne, albeit tempered by a lap of full course yellows called when Loic Duval stopped out on track.

His lead stood at five seconds before coming into the pits after Vergne and Bird made contact, the latter having also lost second place to his teammate at the start. Their squabbling continued until after the car swaps, allowing championship contender Sebastien Buemi to close in on a podium position, making his way up from eighth on the grid.

Bird made a critical error with six laps remaining, locking up at Turn 1 and take a trip down the slip road to drop to sixth place, handing Buemi the final podium position.

The race finished under a safety car after Team Aguri debutant Ma Qinghua crashed at the final corner with five laps remaining. The Chinese racer thankfully walked away unharmed, although the same could not be said of his car.

This allowed di Grassi to ease across the line in first place for the third race in a row (one win lost through disqualification) and extend his lead over Buemi in the standings to 11 points.

Vergne picked up his first podium in Formula E since last year’s London finale by finishing second for DS Virgin on home soil, while Buemi finished third ahead of Renault e.dams teammate Nicolas Prost.

Stephane Sarrazin had a quiet race en route to P5, finishing ahead of Bird, but the same could not be said of Robin Frijns and Antonio Felix da Costa. Despite racing with season one technology, both drivers had feisty races on their way to seventh and eighth.

Bruno Senna and Daniel Abt had hoped to enjoy a late charge by going longer before making their first pit stops, giving them more energy for the second stint, but the safety car scuppered this and left them ninth and 10th at the flag.

Formula E Paris ePrix Race Result

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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.