Haas F1 Team confirms new hires, and place in ex-Marussia factory

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Gene Haas has confirmed further staff and operational details for the Haas F1 Team, via a team release out Tuesday. The Ferrari-powered team remains on course and on schedule for its debut in the 2016 Formula 1 season.

The Guenther Steiner-led team has confirmed its place in the former Marussia factory in Banbury, Oxfordshire. The 3.655 square-meter (39,350 square-foot) building will serve as Haas F1 Team’s European base, and will complement its U.S. headquarters in Kannapolis, N.C.

It had been reported a month or so ago that this factory was Haas’ targeted European headquarters, and Haas confirmed further updates of the team’s F1 plans during the NASCAR media tour in Charlotte.

The team has also announced some new staff hires, including two past Marussia workers.

Dave O’Neill has been hired as team manager, with Rob Taylor as chief designer and Ben Agathangelou as chief aerodynamicist.

O’Neill and Taylor come to Haas from Marussia. O’Neill joined Marussia when it was initially set up as Manor in 2009 (team is reverting to that name now), and faced a six-month process to get the team established prior to its debut in the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix. Taylor was deputy chief designer at Marussia and will have full reins of the car there.

O’Neill’s other experience the last 15-20 years includes stints with Jordan Grand Prix and the A1GP series, the open-wheel championship featuring drivers racing for nations rather than particular teams. Taylor has worked with McLaren, Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Jaguar, Arrows, Ferrari, Cosworth and Benetton previously.

Agathangelou paired with Haas F1 Team from Scuderia Ferrari where he managed the upgrade of the team’s wind tunnel and testing systems in Maranello, Italy, in March 2012. Prior to that, Agathangelou was with Dallara, serving as an engineering consultant for a number of projects the Italian racecar manufacturer had dating back to 2009, which included the technical lead for the Campos F1 project (the team that became HRT).

Agathangelou and Taylor have already completed the 60-percent scale model of the team’s 2016 chassis.

“While there is still a lot of work to do, a lot has already been accomplished for Haas F1 Team to be competitive when we join the F1 grid in 2016,” Steiner said in a team release.

Drivers remain a hot topic but are likely to be announced in the summer months at the earliest.

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.