Pascal Wehrlein to miss first F1 pre-season test through injury

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Pascal Wehrlein has confirmed that he will miss the first collective Formula 1 pre-season test in Barcelona later this month through injury.

Wehrlein sustained a neck and back injury after rolling his car during the Race of Champions in Miami last month when he crashed after crossing the finish line at the end of a heat.

Doctors in Miami told Wehrlein to miss the second day of the event as a precaution, but the German is yet to fully recover and will now miss the first pre-season running in Barcelona, set to begin on February 27.

Wehrlein had been due to make his first public appearance for Sauber in Barcelona, having joined the team from Manor following his rookie campaign in 2016.

Sauber is yet to officially announce that Wehrlein will be missing the test, but is set to field Ferrari youngster Antonio Giovinazzi in its second car.

Giovinazzi finished second in the GP2 Series last year and enjoyed his first F1 test with a 2015-spec Ferrari earlier this month at Fiorano.

The Italian driver is likely to share the four days of running in Barcelona with full-season driver Marcus Ericsson, who returns for a third year with Sauber in 2017.

The second pre-season test in Barcelona will begin on March 7, giving Wehrlein almost three weeks to get fully fit in time to make his first appearance for Sauber.

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.”