Brawn: Schumacher’s F1 records now in sight for Hamilton

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Formula 1 technical chief Ross Brawn believes Lewis Hamilton is now in a position to challenge Michael Schumacher’s all-time records for wins and championships after clinching his fourth title in Mexico last weekend.

Hamilton clinched his fourth crown by finishing ninth in the Mexican Grand Prix, becoming just the fifth driver in the sport’s history to amass a quartet of titles.

Only Juan Manuel Fangio (5) and Schumacher (7) now lay ahead of Hamilton in the records list, while the Briton is second only to Schumacher for race wins in F1, claiming 62 to the German’s 91.

Schumacher’s statistical records had been deemed out of reach by most, but Brawn – an instrumental figure in Schumacher’s success – told Sky Sports he believes Hamilton now stands a chance of catching them.

“I think they are. When that happened I couldn’t imagine it being beaten, but looking at the way that Lewis is performing [they could be],” Brawn said.

“You’ve got to say he’s one of the greats comparable with any of the iconic characters in Formula 1.

“He made hard work of it [in Mexico], but apart from that he’s been exemplary all year.”

Hamilton is set to open talks with Mercedes over a new contract in the coming months, with his existing deal expiring at the end of the 2018 season.

Were Hamilton to pen another three-year deal, it would take him up to the age of 35, with an extension beyond that not out of the realm of imagination.

With another four or five years on the cards and with a team that has completed a four-year run of title wins, Hamilton appears to be in a position to catch Schumacher’s once-deemed unbeatable records.

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

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
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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.”