Malaysian GP chasing three-year contract extension

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The promoters of the Malaysian Grand Prix have confirmed that they are chasing a three-year contract extension to keep the race until 2018.

The race was first held at Sepang International Circuit back in 1999 before moving into its traditional slot as the second round of the F1 season in 2001.

Its current contract expires at the end of the 2015 season, and with a number of new races looking to join the F1 calendar, the event could be at threat.

However, chairman of the Sepang International Circuit Mahathir Mokhzani is confident that a new deal can be negotiated, telling reporters at the launch of the 2015 race earlier this week that talks largely hinged on the sanction fee required by the F1 Group.

“The talks are centred on an agreeable price for organising the prestigious race for the next three years,” Mokhzani said.

“We also have to take into consideration the current economic volatility. For now we have not made any decision yet. We have to ensure the negotiations proceed smoothly.”

Should the Malaysian Grand Prix secure a new contract, the 2016 calendar could swell to as many as 22 races. The Grand Prix of Europe is set to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan next year, whilst organizers in Qatar claimed earlier this month that a deal to host a grand prix in the next two years was close.

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.