Renault director: We’re aiming for at least five F1 wins in 2015

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Despite suffering from major reliability and pace problems at the start of the 2014 season, Formula One engine manufacturer Renault claimed three Grand Prix wins last year – all from Red Bull Racing and its Australian pilot, Daniel Ricciardo.

Obviously, Renault would like to come out of the gate much better in 2015 and also close down its horsepower gap to the Mercedes-powered teams.

As Lotus has gone to Mercedes power and Caterham is still fighting for its place on the grid, Renault will only supply Red Bull (with drivers Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat) and its junior team, Scuderia Toro Rosso (Carlos Sainz Jr. and Max Verstappen).

Time will tell if the narrowed focus will lead to better performance on the track for Renault. But its managing director, Cyril Abiteboul, made it clear in a recent interview with a French TV network that he expects just that.

“We estimate that our gap to Mercedes at the end of the 2014 season was about 60 horsepower,” Abiteboul told Canal+. “We hope to close this gap by half at the [season-opening Australian Grand Prix] in Melbourne.

“Unlike Mercedes, we will start the 2015 season with the 2015 version of our engine. To date, we have used about two-thirds of allowed [32] tokens to change our engine this year.

“My goal is to claim at least five wins this season.”

Abiteboul also discussed recent momentum behind the idea of upping the horsepower of F1 engines, which he endorses – as long as the price tag of such a change is not too large.

“Renault will not object to the idea of [F1 supremo] Bernie Ecclestone, to make engines more powerful, and to make more sound, [so long as] costs remain under control,” he said.

“The idea is attractive, but it seems that it is already too late [for] 2016. 2017, however, is ideal timing.”

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


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.