Gene Haas downplays irony of Ford vs. Ferrari in his NASCAR, F1 teams

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Wednesday’s news that Stewart-Haas Racing will shift from Chevrolet to Ford in its Sprint Cup cars in 2017 brought back recollections by some of the fierce battles Ford once had with Ferrari in sports cars, and to a point, even Formula 1.

SHR co-owner Gene Haas has delved into F1 this season with the first American team in years – and his power units are from Ferrari (chassis is from Dallara).

Haas was asked during Wednesday’s announcement of SHR’s shift to Ford if there may be some increased notoriety for both his F1 team and Sprint Cup teams because of the old Ford vs. Ferrari rivalry.

“That was a long, long time ago,” Haas said. “You’re talking about something back in the (1960s). I think over the years I feel that that animosity is probably gone because Ford and Ferrari really compete at the dealership level anymore.”

Haas continued, telling the reporter that posed the question, “It’s kind of humorous you say that, but I don’t think Ferrari is going to say anything about it. I can tell you that the conversations I had with Ford that was never brought up, so that’s really a unique question. It will all be good, I’m sure of that.”

Raj Nair, executive vice president of Global Product Development and Chief Technical Officer for Ford, concurred with Haas’ comments.

“(The old Ford vs. Ferrari rivalry) really never came up,” Nair said. “We respect all of our competitors, whether it’s Ferrari or Chevy or whoever, and that rivalry is probably going to heat up a little bit when we get to Le Mans with the GT this year, but that really has never come up.

“We have other relationships, whether it’s Roger Penske, who has a Chevy in IndyCar, or Chip Ganassi, who races Chevy in NASCAR. We really treat those deals as separate.”

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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.