Giovinazzi set for seven FP1 runs with Haas F1 Team

Photo: Haas F1 Team
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File this one under news we didn’t particularly see coming. Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi will have seven free practice one appearances later this year with Haas F1 Team in the Ferrari-powered Haas VF-17 chassis, starting in Silverstone in July.

The Italian will take over Kevin Magnussen’s chassis for six of those seven outings, and Romain Grosjean’s in Mexico City.

The outings will be at Silverstone, Budapest, Monza, Sepang, Mexico City, Sao Paulo and Abu Dhabi.

Giovinazzi drove two races this year as an injury fill-in for Pascal Wehrlein at Sauber in Melbourne and Shanghai, finishing 12th in the first one and crashing out of the second one. Keeping him to only two races ensures he retains his rookie status for testing purposes throughout the year.

It also, may, indirectly, kick off the 2018 silly season. A driver doesn’t necessarily get this many planned runs – announced this early in the year – without the foreshadowing of a full drive in the following year.

Alas, it’ll give Giovinazzi more running throughout the year and now with a new team. Haas ran Charles Leclerc in a handful of free practice sessions and has also tested Santino Ferrucci, the young American, who stays on in a developmental role this year.

“In a year that’s already been filled with great opportunities, I’m proud to have another one with Haas F1 Team,” said Giovinazzi.

“Being the third driver with Scuderia Ferrari is obviously a great place to be, and getting seat time in these FP1 sessions with Haas F1 Team will keep me sharp. I’ll be able to take what I’ve learned in the simulator and apply it in actual race conditions. I’m proud of the faith Ferrari and Haas have in me and gracious for the seat time Kevin and Romain are sharing with me.”

Team principal Guenther Steiner added, “Antonio Giovinazzi earned a good bit of Formula One experience during his two races with Sauber this year and these FP1 sessions with our team will allow him to develop even more. He is highly regarded by Ferrari and performed very well last year in Formula 2. It’s a good opportunity for him and we’re happy to provide it. Credit also goes to Kevin and Romain for graciously sharing their racecars with Antonio.”

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.”