Grosjean doubts Button will struggle on F1 return in Monaco

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Romain Grosjean doubts Jenson Button will have any trouble getting to back up to speed upon his Formula 1 return in Monaco next weekend with McLaren.

Button decided to stop racing full-time in F1 at the end of last year, but was drafted in by McLaren to replace Fernando Alonso in Monaco while the Spaniard takes part in the Indianapolis 500.

Button opted against testing the 2017-spec McLaren-Honda MCL32 in Bahrain last month, meaning his first taste of the car will come during first practice on Thursday in Monaco.

Given the significant changes between the F1 cars in 2016 and 2017, Button may face a steep learning curve, but Grosjean doubts the 2009 world champion will have too many issues getting up to speed.

“First thing he has to do is get used to the width of the car, especially in Monaco,” Grosjean said.

“Jenson is a great champion. He’s been world champion and he knows what he’s doing. He’s going to be on it pretty quickly.

“If we can take advantage of the fact that he’s not got much experience in the car at the beginning, we’ll use that for our own performance, but I’m sure he’s going to be good straight away.”

Speaking about Alonso’s decision to skip Monaco for the ‘500, Grosjean said: ““t’s pretty amazing and he’s doing well in the testing. It’s a really good race.

“It’s a nice one, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to watch. I’ll have a look at the highlights.”

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.