Wolff: Jordan’s Mercedes F1 quit theory ‘completely baseless’

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Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff has dismissed former team owner Eddie Jordan’s suggestion that the German manufacturer could quit the sport at the end of 2018, calling it “completely baseless”.

Mercedes returned to F1 with a works operation in 2010 and has since claimed three drivers’ and constructors’ championship doubles, enjoying one of the most dominant spells of form in the sport’s history.

Jordan, who owned the Jordan Grand Prix team until 2005 and has since become a TV pundit, said in an interview with Auto Bild that he expected Mercedes to close its works team at the end of next year, but remain in F1 as an engine supplier.

“Mercedes will probably pull the plug at the end of 2018,” Jordan said. “I think they will go for the titles this and next year and then the board of directors in Stuttgart will decide to sell the team and stay only as an engine maker.

“I would do the same, because Mercedes have won everything and can only get worse from now. So it’s better to go back to their old core business in Formula 1, which is developing and delivering high-tech engines.”

Mercedes responded by saying the reports “are completely false and there are no such considerations”, with Wolff also adding a rather humorous rebuttal to Jordan.

“Monaco is a place where people like to party and it seems like somebody did a bit too much of that!” Wolff said.

“The reports are completely baseless and reflect nothing more than the mischievous speculation of one individual.

“Mercedes has firm contracts for its participation in Formula 1 until the end of 2020, and is currently in discussions about the next competitive cycle with the sport’s new owners.”

All teams currently racing in F1 are bound to the sport up to the end of the 2020 season under the Concorde Agreement, with future plans beyond that point currently being reviewed by Liberty Media following its takeover of the series in January.

Known as one of F1’s more colorful figures, Jordan has been known for his crystal ball predictions in recent years, gaining recognition for his claim that Lewis Hamilton would quit McLaren to join Mercedes for 2013.

Earlier this year, Jordan predicted that McLaren would cut ties with ailing power unit partner Honda at the end of 2017 and rekindle its former partnership with Mercedes. McLaren was quick to deny this.

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.