Grosjean delighted, shocked after scoring first podium since 2013 US GP in Belgium

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Romain Grosjean was left in shock after securing his first podium finish in Formula 1 since the 2013 United States Grand Prix in Belgium on Sunday.

Grosjean had shown signs of good pace throughout the weekend, qualifying fourth on Saturday. However, he was dropped back to ninth on the grid for the start due to a gearbox change.

The Frenchman managed to pick his way through the field during the race, rising up to third place before making his final pit stop.

Grosjean emerged behind Sebastian Vettel, who was trying to make a one-stop strategy work and go to the end on a worn set of tires.

On the penultimate lap of the race, Vettel suffered a tire failure coming onto the Kemmel Straight, causing him to drop down the order. Much to the surprise of Grosjean, this handed the Frenchman his first podium finish in over 18 months.

“It has been an incredible weekend for us,” Grosjean said. “A great qualifying yesterday, unfortunately we had that grid penalty, and then a good race.

“I still can’t believe that we are on the podium. The guys have been working hard to give us the car to be able to be here today.”

The result was made all the sweeter for Grosjean given that it came at Spa, the site of his accident in 2012 that saw him receive a one-race ban from F1.

“Of course going into turn one, everytime I take a start at Spa, I remember 2012, but I think it made me stronger, and indeed it allowed me to [finish] ten times on the podium,” Grosjean said.

“Being here today is kind of special I think. For us, it is the prize of a race win.”

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.