Bottas: Ferrari rumors didn’t damage Williams relationship

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Valtteri Bottas believes that speculation about a possible move to Ferrari for the 2016 season did nothing to damage his relationship with current team Williams.

Bottas had been linked with a switch to Ferrari for 2016 as Kimi Raikkonen’s replacement, with reports in the Italian media suggesting that a fee of $13m had been agreed to release him from his Williams contract.

This speculation was grounded when Ferrari confirmed that Raikkonen would be retained for 2016 alongside Sebastian Vettel ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix.

Williams quickly followed suit by announcing that Bottas would remain with the team for next season over the Italian Grand Prix weekend at Monza.

Writing in his blog earlier this week, Bottas said that although the speculation did not damage his relationship with Williams, he was pleased to have his future secured and confirmed.

“It’s good to have the new contract signed and know what I’m going to be doing next year,” Bottas wrote. “At least there’s no more speculation and the team and myself can focus on the job of making the car quicker and delivering the results.

“We can now start working on the development of next year’s car and share all the information needed without any doubts.

“Our relationship wasn’t damaged at all, but that can happen if people think you are looking to leave a team. No damage has been done and I’m very happy to stay with the team, and they are very happy to keep me as well.”

Bottas believes that continuity will be key to a successful 2016 season, when he will race alongside Brazilian driver Felipe Massa once again.

“I get along with every single person at Williams and we have developed a very good working relationship over the years,” he said.

“I think this is the best place for me at the moment and continuity will be good for us, particularly as I’ll have the same team mate in Felipe Massa. Together we have a good baseline and we can work together to get even better results.”

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.