Ferrari confirms Vettel engine change, edges closer to penalty

Getty Images
0 Comments

Sebastian Vettel has moved onto his final permitted Formula 1 engine of the 2017 season after being forced into an early change due to an issue in final practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Drivers are allowed to use four power units through the entire 20-race season, with grid penalties being handed out to those exceeding this limit.

Ferrari had planned to introduce Vettel’s fourth and final power unit at a later date, but was forced to fit it to his SF70H car ahead of qualifying in Malaysia after an issue emerged during final practice.

Vettel slowed while heading down the back straight, nursing his car back to the pits and not returning back out on-track. He ended the session second-fastest behind teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

Ferrari confirmed after the session it had been forced to change the engine on Vettel’s car, taking his fourth power unit in order to avoid triggering a penalty.

“Towards the end of the session, there was an electronic malfunction on Seb’s car and the engineers decided to change the internal combustion engine on his car as a precaution,” Ferrari added.

While this change is penalty-free, Vettel’s final power unit will now have to last longer than originally planned, putting him at risk of a grid drop amid his battle for the title with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

Qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 5am ET on Saturday.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
James Gilbert/Getty Images
0 Comments

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.