Force India squeezes out double points finish in Spain

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Noticeable rates of tire degradation proved an obstacle to Sahara Force India’s efforts in the Spanish Grand Prix, but Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg’s ninth and tenth place finishes made sure the team left Barcelona with another double points result.

“There were few surprises in this afternoon’s race and our final result of ninth and tenth is a fair reflection of the pace we have shown during this weekend,” said team owner Vijay Mallya.

“As I said yesterday, this circuit was never going to play to our strengths and yet we still managed to secure a double points finish. It means we’ve scored points in every race so far this year and this keeps up our momentum in the championship.”

Hulkenberg, who finished in the same place he started, said that Sunday’s race was “a case of damage limitation” but felt like things worked out in the end for the team.

“We knew from the early practice sessions that this wasn’t going to be our strongest track so to get two cars in the points is a positive result,” he said. “The tire degradation was high and the car was not so easy to drive, but I think everybody was struggling in the final part of the race.

“I thought we would need to make a third stop, but fortunately the tires held on and I was able to score a point. We will use all the data we got over the weekend to improve for the next few races where we hope to be a bit more competitive.”

As for Perez, who jumped two spots from 11th on the grid, he thought that the tire degradation was fine enough to warrant a less conservative approach to the race.

“Maybe if we had stopped earlier, I could have jumped ahead of some more cars because my pace was good, but it was just so difficult to overtake,” he said of his day in Barcelona.

“We knew this track would be a tough test for us, so this result is more or less what we expected here. Maybe P7 or P8 was achievable today, but we should feel quite happy to keep up our run of points.”

Force India remains fourth in the Constructors’ Championship, nine points behind Ferrari for third (66-57) as the Monaco Grand Prix looms on the horizon.

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.