Formula E Notes: Jean Todt says F-E is more “a stand-alone series” than ladder series

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With Formula E’s debut coming next weekend in Beijing, FIA president Jean Todt has shared some of his thoughts on the global, all-electric racing series – including his belief that F-E stands apart on its own rather than as a stepping stone to other leagues.

“It could be said that F-E is more a stand-alone series rather than a new thread included in the single-seater ladder,” he says to the F-E website. “However, it still does open career pathways for drivers with various backgrounds and has already attracted both young talents and experienced racers.

“For me, it’s a city, single-seater category, and I’m keen to keep it on a track of its own. And I think the interest in this challenge is because it’s like a circus. You have everything take place in 24 hours.

“The day before, it’s just a normal city, then everything happens for the organization of the race and then 24 hours later, it’s just a memory until next year.”

In the interview, Todt also touches upon the inspiration behind F-E, where F-E stands to be down the road, and whether F-E technology will eventually emerge in other FIA championships – noting on that subject that “you always learn from one championship to another one.”

“For example, what generates a lot of cost is aerodynamic development – and in Formula E, it’s quite limited, which I think is a good thing because sometimes, you see how complicated aerodynamics are on a car,” Todt said.

“You take Formula 1 now with all the little winglets that require so much wind tunnel testing. So, I would say let’s try to develop as much that can be transferred to a city car.”

Todt also defended the series’ FanBoost, which enables fans to vote online for their favorite drivers in hopes that they will receive an additional, five-second power boost (150kw to 180kw) during the races.

Some observers believe the FanBoost goes too far in manipulating a race’s natural outcome. But Todt called the FanBoost a “friendly, fresh initiative” that he doesn’t believe will “damage the final result.”

Meanwhile, back on the grid, one IndyCar veteran has apparently replaced another at Dragon Racing for the Sept. 13 season opener in Beijing.

Instead of Mike Conway driving the team’s second car, it will be Oriol Servia in that seat and working with Dragon full-timer Jerome d’Ambrosio. No official reason is listed for Dragon’s Beijing switch.

Conway does have other commitments and is racing for Toyota in the World Endurance Championship this month at Austin. However, that race is occurring on the weekend after Beijing.

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.