The silly season is finally fully open for business in the world of open-wheel racing, and while Formula 1 stuck around in Abu Dhabi for the final test of the 2022 season, the hot stove temperature for both F1 and IndyCar has started rising. One of the storylines to watch regards Mattia Binotto, as even with his team participating in the Pirelli tire test at Yas Marina Circuit, rumors of the team principal being out at Ferrari began to circulate, though Ferrari has released nothing official as of yet.
Several deals that were well known up and down the F1 grid were finally officially announced, such as Daniel Ricciardo landing at Red Bull Racing in a reserve role. The fact that Ricciardo spurned offers from teams deeper down the grid (Haas apparently had talks with the Australian before replacing Mick Schumacher with Nico Hulkenberg) points to the fact that Ricciardo believes that this presents his best opportunity to perhaps return to a top-tier team in 2024 and that he truly would like to step away from the pressure of the sport for a bit, as his role has been explained as part brand ambassador (doing demonstrations in a show car) with a bit of tire testing and simulator running mixed in.
McLaren did surprise Ricciardo at the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Formula1.com reported that the team radioed him to change a setting on his steering wheel to "Purple C1," and upon doing so his information display switched to a picture of his victory for the team at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix.
Ricciardo seat had little time to cool off as Oscar Piastri was out the next day for McLaren during the Pirelli tire test, where he put in enough work to have covered about two races in running 123 laps.
"A very different feeling to the Young Driver Test that I did last year, because I knew that was a day to have fun in an F1 car whereas this year, it's a building block towards next year," Piastri told formula1.com. "In terms of lap times, it's meaningless because you never know what everyone else is doing. … [It's about] getting to know my engineers, my mechanics, everyone in the team."
Piastri wasn't the only one getting familiar in new surroundings. Fernando Alonso participated in the test for Aston Martin, Pierre Gasly got a few turns in with Alpine, Nyck de Vries got familiar at AlphaTauri (where he is replacing Gasly), Nico Hulkenberg gave his Haas a try and Logan Sergeant took his first laps for Williams.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan did a little number shuffling amongst its driver line-up as Jack Harvey will now carry the No. 30 on his car and Christian Lundgaard will campaign in the No. 45 in 2023. Graham Rahal's No. 15 remains unchanged. Hy-Vee will remain as main sponsor on the No. 45 and as a secondary sponsor on the No. 30, which is nearing a deal on the primary.
Stefan Wilson will be back at the 2023 Indianapolis 500 for his fifth attempt, driving for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in a partnership with Cusick Motorsports. The younger brother of the late Justin Wilson, Stefan has a career-best finish of 15th (2018) in the 500. DRR is working on a second entry for the race, details of which will be revealed when final.
Ed Carpenter Racing has announced a driver development program with 16-year-old Josh Pierson. The Oregon native will compete in the INDY NXT Series, formerly known as Indy Lights, for 2023 with the goal of reaching IndyCar in 2025. Pierson, who has competed in karts since the age of 2, was the youngest driver to compete on the USF2000 series at ages 13 and 14, and became the youngest driver to race in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January 2022. Pierson campaigned in the World Endurance Championship in 2022 with an LMP2 class team win at the 1000 Miles of Sebring, making him the youngest driver ever to win.
Finally, having accomplished the feat of winning the championships in both IndyCar and NASCAR Cup Series this season, Roger Penske will be honored by Autosport magazine during its annual awards ceremony Dec. 4 at London. Over a lifetime in the sport that has seen his name become synonymous with winning, Penske has captained his drivers to victories not only in IndyCar and NASCAR but also in F1, Trans-Am, Can-Am, IMSA and Australia's V8 Supercars, finding success at historic venues from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to the high-banks of Daytona.