Ferrari struggles in home qualifying at Monza

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The Italian Grand Prix is meant to be Ferrari’s showcase event of the season, given that it enjoys tremendous support from the loyal ‘Tifosi’ fan club that packs out the grandstands, turning them a shade of Maranello red.

However, during qualifying at Monza today, they had very little to shout about as Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen both struggled to make much of an impact.

Alonso was the lead car once again for the Italian marque, qualifying in seventh place in front of the home crowd. He was the leading driver not to be using a Mercedes power unit, which is proving to be particularly potent at this high-speed circuit where straight line speed is king.

Raikkonen, on the other hand, was less impressive. For the fourth time in five races, the Finn dropped out in Q2 after failing to finishing inside the top ten. On his final lap, he made a mistake at the second chicane, causing him to lose some time. This allowed Daniil Kvyat and Sergio Perez to improve, pushing him into the dropzone and out of qualifying.

However, the Finn was not too downbeat about the result given the pace of the Mercedes-powered cars ahead.

“I think obviously today, qualifying was not very good for me,” Raikkonen said. “But overall, the weekend has been maybe a bit better than we expected. We knew that qualifying would be difficult compared to some of the Mercedes people.

“It was a bit disappointing to fall out, but it’s another day tomorrow. I had a good long run. I believe we can be much better in the race, but obviously here against the Mercedes-engined cars, it will be difficult. We’ll do the maximum we can.”

Raikkonen will make up one place on the grid tomorrow by virtue of Daniil Kvyat’s grid penalty.

Ferrari will be hoping to bounce back in the race tomorrow, but given that nearest-rivals Williams start from third and fourth place on the grid, the team may struggle to retain third place in the constructors’ championship.

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.