Williams confirms tests for Kubica, di Resta in race for F1 2018 seat

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Williams has confirmed it will give Formula 1 tests to Robert Kubica and Paul di Resta in the near future as it evaluates both drivers for a 2018 race seat alongside Lance Stroll.

Williams currently fields 18-year-old rookie Stroll alongside Felipe Massa, who had planned to retire at the end of last season before returning after Valtteri Bottas’ sudden move up to Mercedes.

Massa has stressed he wants to remain in F1 with Williams next year, but an underwhelming 2017 campaign that has seen him score just one point more than his inexperienced teammate has led the team to consider alternative options.

A report from Motor Sport Magazine‘s Mark Hughes earlier this week claimed Williams would run Kubica and di Resta back-to-back in a 2014-spec Williams in Hungary, with the pair leading the chase for Massa’s seat in 2018.

Kubica has been working for a full-time F1 comeback throughout the year, having last raced in 2010 before suffering severe injuries to his right arm and hand in a rally accident.

Di Resta has worked with Williams in a reserve role for some time, and impressed after a late call-up in Hungary earlier this year when Felipe Massa fell ill after FP3.

Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe confirmed the plans to test Kubica and di Resta together on Friday in Japan, but stressed the team had a long list of drivers under consideration for next year.

“We will test those two drivers. We won’t give away any information around what we do within those tests, that’s a private matter for us and I would stress that that doesn’t mean that they’re the only drivers under consideration,” Lowe said.

“We’re considering quite a large range of which they are only two possibilities.”

With few seats left on the F1 grid in 2018, Williams is seen to offer drivers one of the best remaining options, giving the team the chance to take its time before making a decision.

“It seems like we’re one of the last chairs available for next year. Of course Felipe is very much in the frame, very very high on our list of possibilities, but we owe it to ourselves to take a look around and see what could be the best option for the team going forwards,” Lowe said.

“All options are under consideration, to be honest. You’ve probably seen a number of names that are floating around that we’re looking at but honestly the range is almost unlimited.

“We will consider all ideas. We’re not in a super hurry to do so and we’ll just make sure we land the best line-up we can.”

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.