Webber says he may be leaving “a year too soon”

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Mark Webber feels he may be calling time on his F1 career earlier than he needs to.

But the Red Bull driver says he is doing so to make the best of his impending switch to Porsche’s new World Endurance Championship team for 2014.

“I’m probably leaving F1 a year too soon but with the changes next season and the opportunity to join Porsche, it’s the best move for me,” he told F1 Racing magazine.

The nine-time race winner admitted he only recently began to understand what it felt like to lose motivation to compete.

“Questions keep coming to me more and more often that were never there in the past,” he said.

Webber said he had grown weary of the “travel and hotels” side of F1, which could have 20 races or more next year. “And probably the repetitive nature of the job,” he added. “A bit of media.”

“Lots and lots of small things that you’re happy to deal with when you’re bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.”

Webber entered F1 with Minardi in 2002 and scored his first victory at the Nurburgring in 2009 after joining Red Bull. The following year he led the championship standings for six rounds but slumped to third at the finale while team mate Sebastian Vettel scooped the first of three consecutive world championships to date.

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.