Formula 1: Recapping the past week’s news

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McLaren, Alonso Looking to Enter IndyCar?

The most dominant news story from Formula 1 this week revolves around Fernando Alonso and McLaren.

The first domino to fall came with news that McLaren, as an entity, was seriously considering a move to the Verizon IndyCar Series next year, in addition to continuing its Formula 1 program.

Such a rumor is buoyed by the fact that McLaren team principal Zak Brown and Gil de Ferran, who recently joined the operation in a consulting manner, are meeting with IndyCar teams at this weekend’s Chevrolet Dual in Detroit, according to several reports.

Those rumors were ignited further in an interview that Sky Sports F1 commentator Martin Brundle did with The Express, a news outlet based in the U.K.

Brundle asserted that two-time world champion Alonso is unhappy with the situation at McLaren, and is re-evaluating his options for next year.

“I had a long sit down interview with Fernando Alonso pre-race (at Monaco) and he gave me a distinct impression that he likely wouldn’t be on the F1 grid next year,” Brundle said of Alonso, who dropped out of the Monaco Grand Prix with mechanical issues.

Brundle added, “You never know with him, he could retire then un-retire very quickly, but I think even his relentless energy and motivation is fading.”

Alonso, himself, was highly critical of the racing at Monaco, outright calling it “boring.”

“At least (watching the Indy 500) was fun, especially because the people who watched this race were a bit numb. Monaco was probably the most boring race in the history of F1 (in 2018),” Alonso said after Monaco.

Alonso, of course, famously sent shockwaves across the racing world last year when he skipped the Monaco Grand Prix to contest the Indianapolis 500, in a joint effort between McLaren and Andretti Autosport.

Given that Alonso had previously asserted his desire to add wins at the Indy 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans to his resume – he is also contesting a full 2018 slate of events in the World Endurance Championship, including Le Mans, with Toyota Gazoo Racing – Alonso’s Indy 500 effort immediately kicked off speculation about whether or not he would make the move to the Verizon IndyCar Series full-time.

And the reports of Alonso’s unhappiness in F1 at the moment along with McLaren’s apparent interest in going IndyCar racing will only add to that speculation.

Mallya Steps Down as Director of Force India

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 11: F1 Force India team boss Vijay Mallya walks through the press as he arrives at The City of Westminster Magistrates Court on January 11, 2018 in London, England. The Indian liquor tycoon is wanted in India on charges of fraud and money laundering. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Vijay Mallya, co-owner for Force India, has stepped away from the team according to a report from BBC Sport.

Mallya has been embroiled in legal troubles recently – he was arrested last fall on charges of money laundering, following an arrest earlier in the Spring on charges of fraud – and is in the midst of fighting on extradition request from the Indian government.

Mallya’s son, Siddarth, will fill in his role with the Force India team, though the elder Mallya is staying on as team principal.

“There was no compulsion anywhere to resign. It’s just that I decided my son should replace me. I have my own legal issues to take care of, so it’s better that the company remains unaffected,” Mallya said of his decision.

Force India is currently sixth in the constructor’s championship, with Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon sitting on 17 and nine points respectively.

Williams Parts Ways With Head of Aerodynamics

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO – MAY 26: Lance Stroll of Canada driving the (18) Williams Martini Racing FW41 Mercedes on track during qualifying for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 26, 2018 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Amidst a very disappointing start to the season that sees them last in the constructor’s championship with four points – courtesy of Lance Stroll’s eighth place in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Williams has parted ways with Dirk De Beer, who had been their head of aerodynamics, per BBC Sport.

According to the BBC, the FW41 chassis has been suffering from a significant aerodynamic issue in which the air is not flowing cleanly over the car when the front wheels are turned, hampering the car’s grip level when it enters corners.

Chief engineer Doug McKiernan will take over that role.

The next event on the 2018 Formula 1 calendar is the Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 10.




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

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
James Gilbert/Getty Images

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.