Vettel fastest as teams experiment with new components in Spain test

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Times aren’t usually as intriguing as new elements and components on a test day, and such was the case again on Tuesday for the first of two days of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel primarily focused on short runs and led the way on the timesheets with a best time of 1:23.220.

“I think it is a unique chance having the opportunity right after the GP to test at the same track, more or less on the same conditions,” Vettel said, via the official Formula 1 website.

Vettel was also one of three drivers to clock more than 100 laps in the session, with Nico Rosberg leading the way in the lap chart department at 119 laps in the Mercedes W07 and Renault rookie Esteban Ocon clocking in 105 laps.

Jenson Button was third on the day for McLaren and led the morning session.

Williams Martini Racing raised eyebrows with radical front and rear wings on the FW38 chassis, where test driver Alex Lynn took the reins for the day.

Beyond Lynn and Ocon, Scuderia Toro Rosso (Pierre Gasly) and Sahara Force India (Alfonso Celis Jr.) also fielded young drivers in the opening day of the test.

Meanwhile down at Haas F1 Team, Romain Grosjean rolled out a new VF-16 chassis to attempt to sort whatever balance issues have been plaguing him. The Frenchman went off post-race after another challenging Grand Prix, which was a far cry from the beyond surreal start to his season when he finished sixth and fifth in succession in Australian and Bahrain.

Times from the first day of running are below.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023


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.