As first published by Race Review Online.
For the 6th time in the last 7 years, a new driver (Benjamin Pedersen) is in the 2nd AJ Foyt car. Same for the primary (No. 14)—Santino Ferrucci. How much does all this driver turnover cost them in areas like on-track performance? Does having a pair of new drivers in 2023 force them to take another step back?
They hope not. See, for this organization, they’re going to keep tweaking the whole structure until they can find some solid footing. It’s something that has escaped them in the last several years, and for this time around, they feel like they’ve got the right people in place to, for once, make a charge back up towards the front of the field again…
Takuma Sato is the last one to win for Foyt and this car in general back in Long Beach for the 2013 season. It’s winless in the last 164 races. Can Pedersen and Ferrucci change that tune next season?
The drought is nearing a decade this April.
It will be somewhat tough to go from a team that made up the bottom of the standings and immediately jump to mid-pack.
“We just needed some organization,” Ferrucci said on Tuesday’s Day 1 of INDYCAR Content Day. “I had this chat with Larry back a while ago. The team has all the fundamentals to really put a good car out there.
“If you look back at the results, they’re really not a reflection of the actual speed of the car, in my opinion. I think that having someone like Michael Cannon come on board to really help organize this team, put them on the right track, give them what he calls Racing 101. We needed some consistency. I think that was the biggest thing. That’s what we’re hoping to really find.
“I’d like to see this team back inside the top 10 consistently, then go from there. We got to be a little bit realistic. It is tough coming off of where the team has finished in the last couple years. We definitely can see a lot of rapid growth hopefully throughout the winter…”
Larry Foyt said last Fall that he doesn’t expect to necessarily win right away. It’s going to take some time still to gel. However, there are certain places that he does feel [they] can excel and maximize their growth quicker than others…
Ferrucci agreed in what he saw out of this group.
“I mean, the biggest thing is when I talked to Larry, spent a lot of time on the phone with him, talked about this,” he said. “The car has shown speed this year, without a doubt. It’s had its moments of brilliance. It’s about how to make it consistent.
“The car also didn’t finish a lot of races because he had a rookie in the car. Bringing the team back into consistency. Are we going to show up in St. Pete and light the world on fire? Absolutely not. Are we going to start with realistic goals, put the car in the top 10, seeing how consistent we can be? Yeah, without a doubt.
“It’s going to be a new team for me. It’s going to be completely reorganized by the time we start our winter prep, which has already started. I’m now about join.
“It’s one of those things where we’re going to get the most out of this if we stay realistic and we stay consistent. Talking to Larry about it, I think we can bring in a couple of good engineers; me being based in Texas, I can spend a lot of time with the team, make sure our pit stops are good, building the cars to top quality.
“Like I said, all we got to do is go out there and perform and see what it gives us—go from there.”
It marks the 2nd time in 4 years that Foyt will roll out a completely new driver lineup. Foyt says that the turnover of that magnitude doesn’t have as much of an impact as it once would have…
Pedersen is only 23. Ferrucci is just 24. Foyt has a young pairing that can last for years if they do this right.