Marussia’s one car effort ends in retirement in Russia

1 Comment

A difficult weekend for Marussia F1 Team came to an early end in Russia today as Max Chilton was forced to retire after just nine laps at the Sochi Autodrom.

The Formula 1 paddock has been sending all of its support to the team following Jules Bianchi’s horrific accident at last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. The Frenchman remains in a critical condition in hospital with severe head injuries.

In a mark of respect for its driver, Marussia confirmed on Friday that it would be running with just a single car in Russia, leaving Bianchi’s racer fully fixed and ready to run on the other side of the garage.

Chilton had been hoping to see the checkered flag on a difficult weekend for the team, but was forced to retire after just nine laps due to a problem with the front left wheel on his car.

“After an incredibly tough week for everyone in the team, we all deserved so much more from today’s race,” Chilton said in a statement entitled ‘Teamwork’. “It hasn’t been an easy day, far from it, and all the guys have had to dig deep to get us to the grid. When we got there of course, it was very emotional with all the support for Jules. I think the team, the sport and all the fans have really done him proud.

“In the race, we got a good start then switched from the medium tire to the soft quite early on, as we always knew we wouldn’t be that strong on the prime. On lap 9 I started to feel a problem with the front left and it wasn’t going away, so I pitted for the team to investigate. In the end it was not something we would be able to address quickly, so it was best to bring a generally difficult weekend to an early conclusion.”

The team will now return to the UK for a much-needed break after an emotional back-to-back run of races.

“What the team needs now is to head home for support from their families and colleagues back at the factory,” the Briton said. “Somehow we need to find the strength to regroup and move forward, which is hard to contemplate right now.”

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

3 Comments

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.