‘Impossible’ to shift Mexican GP to June date despite COTA’s wishes

Getty Images
2 Comments

The president of the Mexican Grand Prix says it is “impossible” to shift the Formula 1 race to a June date to avoid a spectator overlap with the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, despite a suggestion from Circuit of The Americas chief Bobby Epstein.

Epstein has long-stated his belief that Mexico City’s race should not take place just one week after the USGP in late October, as fans who previously made the trip up to Austin from Mexico would now stay home.

Epstein’s suggestion has been for Mexico to move to a June date so that it pairs up with the Canadian Grand Prix, much as the USGP did from 2004 to 2007, so as to give Austin more breathing room on the calendar.

Speaking to Reuters, Mexican GP president Alejandro Soberon said such a move would not be possible due to the weather conditions in Mexico City in June.

“Bobby is a fantastic guy and I love him. I think he has a good idea to separate the races,” Soberon said.

“But I invite Bobby to move back to June. It will make even more sense to have Canada and the States – which are closer – together.

“For us, it’s impossible to move to June because it’s the heaviest rainy season.

“The Day of the Dead holiday is on these [current] dates. It’s just become a big festival in the city.

“But overall you cannot have a good experience of the weekend if the rain is so heavy.”

Austin and Mexico are poised to go back-to-back once again on the F1 calendar in 2018, with the races planned for October 21 and October 28 respectively.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
4 Comments

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.”