Home Featured Ferrucci reflects on junior career as he eyes maiden IndyCar win in 2023

Ferrucci reflects on junior career as he eyes maiden IndyCar win in 2023

by Ida Wood

Photo: Penske Entertainment / Lisa Hurley

AJ Foyt Racing’s Santino Ferrucci claimed his first IndyCar podium in last month’s Indianapolis 500, and is now targeting a victory this season.

The 25-year-old waited 49 races for his third place finish, in what is his third full-time IndyCar campaign but sixth year in the series.

He joined IndyCar part-time in 2018 while racing in Formula 2, a programme which ended controversially with a two-round ban, being dropped by Trident and then being taken to court by the team.

Formula Scout asked Ferrucci after the Indy 500 how he has progressed since his primarily Europe-based junior career.

“First, Europe, they don’t change the car. I mean, you show up in a team and they say ‘hey, go drive this’. Like we’ll change the front sway [anti-roll] bar a little bit and that’s really it,” he replied.

“So they don’t really adapt anything to your driving style, which is really annoying. And it was kind of tough for me as a driver because I like a very loose race car.

“Now going through all the different teams in IndyCar has definitely helped me. Being part-time for a couple of years definitely hurt a little bit. With the full-time, compared to [how] some of the full-time drivers have been progressed, we were really starting to become a good racer during the Rahal [Letterman Lanigan Racing] year, and I think a lot of things just started to click for me in my third season.”

Ferrucci did five races for RLLR in 2021 and came sixth in the Indy 500, and drove three races with three different teams last year.

“To have another full-time season [this year], it was a bit off the back foot to start, but I’m definitely getting back to where I was really comfortable like I was in 2021. And I’m driving a lot better.

“I think I make a lot of good decisions on track to finish these races. My rookie year I did have three fourth place finishes, so I’ve been really close to the podium a bunch of times.

“So to finally check that off the list, especially at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, was huge. Next one’s the win for me and I think, continuing on the trajectory that I am, I’ll definitely be able to accomplish that this year.

“Just hoping to be in the right place at the right time because it’s just one of those things where the series is so competitive that even though we were really good at the 500, we ran up front all day, you still don’t win the race. You still need to remember that you have to do the same type of race at every other track. Because they’re all very long, all very tough, and there’s always about 10 or 12 cars that can show up to win.”

Ferrucci also told media his podium “was something that we really needed to see for the sponsors”, and his “opportunities to win” this year will most likely be at “Iowa and Gateway” as AJ Foyt has “a solid oval programme”.