Grosjean: More to come from Lotus in Spain

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After being forced to retire from the Chinese Grand Prix when points appeared to be on the cards, Romain Grosjean is confident that Lotus can continue its rapid progress to finally get on the scoreboard at the Spanish Grand Prix next weekend.

The team has been playing catch-up ever since missing the first pre-season test, but in China, Grosjean came close to scoring some points only for a gearbox problem to end his race prematurely. Nevertheless, he still took the positives out of the weekend.

“The gearbox problem was obviously a big disappointment,” he conceded. “But the overall picture for the whole weekend was 90% positive. We didn’t get a reward at the end, but we know we made a step in the right direction with the car.”

Teammate Pastor Maldonado has boldly set his sights on a top five finish in Spain, and although Grosjean is being more cautious about his chances, he too is focusing on a big step forwards with the car.

“I think it is getting there,” he said. “It is still not as good as we believe it can be. The aim in Barcelona is to keep improving, but we know we have a decent platform to work from and solve the remaining issues.

“On paper we made a big relative improvement in China but it wasn’t just one thing,” he continued. “We took the Renault updates and our own updates as well and moved forward.

“Altogether we made a big step, even though there were no massive changes on the car. We’re just trying to make everything work together better. There is more to come for Barcelona.”

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.