Caterham chief looks to cut gap to midfield

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Caterham team principal Cyril Abiteboul has set his team the tentative target of closing the gap to the midfield in 2013.

Since entering the sport in 2010, Caterham have failed to score any points, and have found themselves battling with Marussia and the now defunct HRT F1 team at the back of the grid.

For 2013, the team has been reinvigorated by the arrival of two new drivers, Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde, and this will also be Abiteboul’s first full season as team principal. Caterham are now aiming to challenge the likes of Toro Rosso, Force India and Williams, as well as perfecting their racing operations.

“The main target for this year is to make sure we now fully understand and control our development and manufacturing processes. Accurately predicting and measuring the level of performance we expect on track will mean that we have grown and become a reliable technical group.”

However, Abiteboul also revealed to the Formula One website that Caterham were looking beyond the 2013 season.

“Obviously, an expression of that should be a clear trend of a reduction of the gap to the midfield over the course of the season, but I am keen to get this done with style and within reason, with one eye always on the longer-term plans.”

The team has made a somewhat disappointing start to 2013, regularly trailing Max Chilton’s Marussia in the pre-seasons tests despite Charles Pic having more Formula One experience than the Briton. However, the gap to the front runners does appear to have been cut, and van der Garde finished ahead of both Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso in Barcelona today. The true pace of the “lean green racing machines” will not become clear until the Australian Grand Prix, but if Abiteboul’s optimism is shared by the rest of the team, it could herald improved fortunes for Caterham.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.