Red Bull heads to Austria bidding to improve home race form

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Red Bull Formula 1 drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will head to next weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix bidding to improve their team’s home race form, having scored just one podium over the past three years in Spielberg.

Austria returned to the F1 calendar in 2014 after an 11-year absence, but the past three races at the Red Bull Ring have been difficult ones for the home team.

Max Verstappen finished second last year after the late clash between Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, outstripping Red Bull’s previous best finish of eighth in Austria from 2014.

After claiming its first victory of the season last time out in Baku, Red Bull now returns home with its sights set on impressing at one of its most important races of the year.

“I had a really good result in Austria last year coming second,” Verstappen said. “Before the race it was a bit unknown how the tires would play out so I just tried to feel my way in and keep life in them.

“This allowed me to complete a one-stop strategy, which was always going to be a gamble, but in the end worked out really well.

“This year we have to make sure the car is working well in the corners in order to be up with the front-runners and then just try and be as competitive as possible on the straights, it’s always a bit of a compromise.

“The fans at the Red Bull Ring are always extremely passionate and of course there was a big Dutch turn out last year which is always special for me to see, plenty of caravans and orange around the area.”

“At any kind of power circuit like Austria you want to be smooth and get good exits in order to give yourself the best chance on the long straights,” added Baku winner Ricciardo.

“The compromise is always the aero package. In the middle to the end of the lap you want more downforce because the corners are quite fast but more downforce means you are slower on the straights, so the key is to find a good balance throughout the lap.

“I really enjoy the track and the only downside is that I wish it was a bit longer. I wish it had a few more corners, but the corners that do exist are great fun.”

Back in May, Ricciardo and Verstappen completed a fun caravan race at the Red Bull Ring in promotion of the race, causing havoc in the process.

“We have done some pretty crazy things at the track, wearing the lederhosen race suit is something different and a few weeks ago Max and I raced caravans there,” Ricciardo said.

“To be honest I’m not sure they would have let us do that anywhere else as the caravans were destroyed, but we loved it!”

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.