A.J. Foyt Racing heads into the new season with a number of key personnel changes to its two-car NTT IndyCar Series operation for veteran Santino Ferrucci and rookie Benjamin Pedersen.
An offseason spent pursuing championship-winning race engineer Michael Cannon to reunite with Ferrucci was successful; the Canadian will lead Foyt’s engineering group and serve as Ferrucci’s race engineer. Cannon, who in 2020 helped Scott Dixon earn his sixth IndyCar title, left Chip Ganassi Racing in November and brings his considerable experience to the Foyt team after stints with Andretti Autosport, CGR, Dale Coyne Racing (with Ferrucci), and Ed Carpenter Racing, among IndyCar’s current entrants.
Cannon replaces Mike Colliver, who engineered the No. 14 Chevy in recent years with Sebastien Bourdais and Kyle Kirkwood, acted in the same overarching role as the team’s engineering leader, and was looking to slow down after a lifetime spent on the road. Colliver could return at some events in in a new capacity as yet undefined.
“It was an opportunity to do something that interests me,” Cannon said. “I know that (team president) Larry (Foyt) has been working hard to move the team up the grid. I saw this opportunity to both help him and Santino and obviously Benjamin Pedersen who’s coming on board. I want to see if I can make a difference here.”
Scott Harner, Foyt’s VP of Operations, exited the team soon after the season finale in September, and in his place, Foyt hired Indy Lights series’ veteran Craig Brooks, who started working with the operation as its team manager in November. Brooks, who is based at the team’s Indianapolis shop and is also responsible for its Waller, Texas shop, is joined by Chris Sheffer as Foyt’s Indiana shop manager; the team also hired six new mechanics.
Complementing Cannon on the race engineering side, longtime Foyt employee Daniele Cucchiaroni will function as Pederson’s race engineer.
“We certainly have many new faces in the team this year, but I can say the feeling is very positive and everyone is pulling in the same direction,” Larry Foyt said. “We know it will take some time to get where we want to be, but we are looking forward to the challenge and proving that we are heading in the right direction.”