Wolff and Nasr offering differing views on testing clash

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Susie Wolff and Felipe Nasr have both suggested that they were not to blame for causing their crash during today’s F1 pre-season test session in Barcelona.

After lunch, a red flag was put out at turn five after Nasr and Wolff collided, with a lengthy stoppage required to recover the cars.

Without TV evidence at the time, only the drivers themselves truly knew what had happened, but Nasr was left with a damaged right-rear tire, whilst Wolff’s front-left wheel was skewed, suggesting heavy contact had been made.

Speaking to the media in Barcelona on Thursday evening, Nasr said that Wolff did not see him coming when he tried to overtake her, thus causing the incident.

“I was on a push lap and could see her leaving the pits,” Nasr said. “She was driving quite slowly in front of me so as I took turn four I caught her and I saw her move to the right. I thought she knew I was coming, as she was on a slow lap.

“Then I committed myself to the braking on the inside of turn five and then I felt a big hit on my rear suspension. I don’t think she ever saw me coming. I asked if she saw me and she said that she did not see me coming.

“I was clearly on the braking zone when I felt the big hit. I committed to the move because I saw she was over to the right, and giving up the room for me.

“I can’t blame her for not seeing my car, but in Formula 1 teams are always giving you information on what cars are around you and what cars that are coming from behind. I think that was something she missed and it could have been avoided.”

However, Wolff was adamant that she was not to blame for the incident, claiming that Nasr moved his car over in an aggressive fashion.

“I stayed completely on my line,” she said. “I didn’t expect him to move across as aggressively as he did, and he hit my front left with his rear. For me, it was an unfortunate incident but not something I could have avoided.

“I went straight over to him and said ‘what the hell went on?’ and he was a bit speechless. To be honest with you I was also a bit speechless because it was one of those things that happens and you wonder how the hell did that happen. It’s stupid.”

In a video shown by Wolff to the media that has been viewed by MotorSportsTalk, the circuit CCTV footage clearly shows the accident. Wolff sticks to her line on the outside of the corner, whilst Nasr cuts across at the last second, causing the contact.

“For me, what’s clear is that I’m staying straight, and he’s coming over too aggressively,” Wolff said. “I don’t know if he expected me to try to optimize the corner entry, but if you know I’m there then you he could have just gone into the corner.”

Nevertheless, Wolff was happy to take the positives out of an otherwise successful day that saw her complete 86 laps behind the wheel of the FW37 car.

“Our day was set up so for the morning I had a race simulation, a soft one, and then in the afternoon I was going to do some performance runs which for me would have been the highlight of the day without a doubt,” Wolff said. “You always have to look at the positives and this morning I learned a lot from doing so many laps.

“We learned a lot as a team getting so many laps in, and for me a lot of positives to take from the FW37 compared to the FW36. We just discussed in our briefing now it’s about looking at the positives because what happened in the afternoon was out of our hands. We still learned a lot.”

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.