In the round-up: Haas team principal Gunther Steiner believes Red Bull will be beaten before 2023 is over.
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Steiner believes Red Bull will be challenged in 2023
Red Bull have won all five of the grands prix held so far this year, finishing one-two in four of those, but Haas team principal Gunther Steiner believes Formula 1’s current dominant force will not finish 2023 undefeated.
Steiner denied the current season has been “boring” but admitted some rounds, such as the sprint race weekend in Azerbaijan, had fallen short.
“Obviously Baku was not the most exciting race we’ve had this year, but there was a lot of races that were exciting,” he said. “You maybe see that the Red Bulls are strong, but there’s a lot of other things going on as well, you never have to forget about that.
“I am a believer that at some stage somebody will catch up with Red Bull, and there will be a fight or something. It’s not over. We always jump to conclusion after a few races: ‘oh, it’s all over now’. No, I would be a little bit more patient.”
While Red Bull have won 15 of the last 16 grands prix stretching back into last season, Steiner said he thinks “another team will win this year.”
McLaren’s Kanaan gets emotional on final IndyCar outing
Kanaan has competed part-time since 2020, with the Indy 500 his focus. He finished third in the race last year, and joined McLaren for this year’s event. After qualifying ninth, he admitted: “I knew going in that it was going to be hard.
“But you never really grasp [it] until you actually hear and fans are telling you ‘don’t do this [retire]’ or ‘what a cool story’, or they hand you something that meant a lot to them throughout my career and they say ‘my daughter one time you gave the hat off your head’, and his daughter was three and now she’s right beside him and like she’s six feet tall. I try to spend as much time as I can with my fans.
“I mean, it was a roller-coaster of emotion. It was one of my best qualifying efforts on Saturday, which is amazing, coincidence and all, save the best for last. We were out all day long, and I said: I’m not happy. I’ve got to give these people some excitement. I said ‘we’re either going to make it or we’re going to not come back on four wheels’. And we did.
“The way the crowd reacted, it was unbelievable. Living a dream right now.”
Pedersen impresses as Indy 500 rookie
Benjamin Pedersen will start on the row behind Kanaan. The Foyt driver set the fastest ever Indy 500 qualifying lap for a rookie at an average of 233.297mph (375.455kph).
The 11th place is Pedersen’s best qualifying result yet in IndyCar and makes him the highest placed rookie on this year’s Indy 500 grid, which impressed his four-time Indy 500-winning team boss AJ Foyt.
“AJ is so happy for the whole team. Just really cool to see his eyes light up. Such a special time for him to be able to see that, and it’s just very special to be a part of,” said Pedersen, who has never previously raced on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. “When I joined Indy Nxt two years ago, that was the first year they stopped coming here for the Freedom 100 [support race], so just didn’t have the opportunity to run here in anything, only the road course,” he added.
“It’s pretty surreal coming here as a rookie and have the month that we’ve had so far. As a team, that aside, just huge accomplishment with what we have as a goal.”
FE debut beckons for Beckmann
Autosport have made the long-awaited announcement that their Formula E reserve driver David Beckmann will make his series debut at next weekend’s Jakarta E-Prix. It has been known for several months that the team’s regular driver Andre Lotterer would not be available to race due to clashing Le Mans 24 Hours test commitments, and the 23-year-old Beckmann had long been sounded out as his stand-in.
Beckmann is a race-winner in Formula 3 and has made the podium in Formula 2, where he raced for the last two years. He is also Porsche’s FE reserve driver, and has stayed active this year by making two World Endurance Championship outings. He won the LMP2 class on his debut in the Sebring 1000 Miles.
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