Kovalainen: Caterham the most likely option in 2014

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Heikki Kovalainen has confirmed that he is in advanced negotiations with Caterham over a return to the team in 2014 after a season on the sidelines as their reserve driver.

Kovalainen raced for the backmarkers between 2010 and 2012, but he was dropped at the end of last season in favor of Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde, both of whom brought financial backing to the team. However, he decided to stay with the team as a reserve driver before getting the chance to race for Lotus in the USA and this weekend in Brazil after Kimi Raikkonen pulled out of the final two races to undergo back surgery. Nevertheless, the Finn does not believe that this stint with Lotus will have any impact on his plans for 2014.

“I think that it will not have any impact,” Kovalainen explained. “We’ve prepared the plans for next year already before these two races we’re happening. I think it will not have any impact, you never know in Formula One but my gut feeling is that it will not have an impact. I’m just trying to help the team as much as I can.”

He confirmed that Caterham would be the most likely destination in 2014 and that he is in advanced talks with the team about a full-time race seat.

“I think the most likely option is Caterham, back to Caterham next year,” he said. “Nothing has been signed, but we are quite far up the road with negotiations.

“Hopefully things get finalized soon but you never know in Formula One so it’s better not to talk about it too much until things have been signed but that has been the original plan and the Lotus thing doesn’t change it too much.”

Therefore, it is likely that we will see the likeable Finn in a full-time seat next season, and this could leave Charles Pic without a place in Formula One after he admitted earlier this week that he is not sure about his future.

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.