Ex-McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh joins America’s Cup sailing team

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Former McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh will be taking up a new challenge in 2015 after it was announced today that he has joined Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup sailing team.

Whitmarsh took over as McLaren team principal following Ron Dennis’ resignation in 2009, but was fired after a disappointing 2013 season, ending his 25-year spell with the company.

After going on gardening leave, Whitmarsh was linked with a number of other roles in F1, but has now reappeared in sailing as CEO of Ben Ainslie Racing.

“After 25 years at McLaren it’s great to be able to turn my energies and experience to such an exciting sporting and technical challenge,” Whitmarsh said in a statement.

“McLaren developed into a multifaceted business, and I hope that my experience will help BAR in its aspiration for a sustainable business model, along with the clear goal of winning the America’s Cup and bringing it back to British waters.”

Ainslie, a four-time Olympic gold medallist, was pleased to welcome Whitmarsh to his team, saying that he admired the McLaren business and management model.

“I’m delighted that Martin is joining us,” Ainslie said. “When we first started to put together the plan for BAR, McLaren were one of the aspirations, so it’s particularly appropriate to have one of the original architects of that model as our new CEO.

“Martin came highly recommended by many authoritative figures in the motorsport industry, and already has good relationships with several of our key partners, particularly the head of Red Bull Advanced Technologies, Adrian Newey.”

Newey is also involved with competitive sailing now as part his new role at Red Bull, having taken a step back from his F1 commitments to delve into other technologies for the energy drink brand.

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.