Gene Haas hails team’s “super successful” first season to date

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Although the majority of Haas F1 Team’s 28 points came in the first four races, when Romain Grosjean scored 22 of them with a sixth, fifth and eighth within the opening four flyaway races, team owner Gene Haas has still called it a “super successful” first season.

Haas and team principal Guenther Steiner spoke to assembled reporters at Haas’ U.S. headquarters outside Charlotte in Kannapolis, N.C. on Tuesday to address how the year has gone.

“It’s been super successful,” Haas told reporters. “We’ve said this a number of times, If we said [at the start] we would have 28 points by midyear, we all would have taken that one. Midyear has been a little tough on us because we haven’t really scored any more points.

“But I think we did better than expected at the beginning, we were less than happy with what happened in the midseason but we have four more races. We have the latest aero package. So we’re optimistic.”

Steiner added that Romain Grosjean’s setup input has been invaluable over the course of the season. The Frenchman has been exactly what they needed even though as a new team, Haas has been without any prior setup input or data to work off.

“I think what he gave us is the confidence of where the car is,” Steiner explained. “As much as he sometimes complains about the car, he knows what the car needs to do. He doesn’t tell you to make you happy. He tells you with his experience, the car is doing this, that or the other. Or it isn’t right or it’s right. So we’re confident. He’s one of the crucial elements of our success here this year.”

This weekend at Circuit of The Americas (Sunday, 2:30 p.m. ET, NBC) marks the first time an American team has raced in a United States F1 race since the Haas Lola team (unrelated Haas, this was the late Carl Haas) in 1986 on the streets of Detroit, in what was called the Detroit Grand Prix and not the United States Grand Prix.

It’s a potential dream weekend for the team, with Grosjean set to make his 100th Grand Prix start and Esteban Gutierrez, the Mexican, getting a sampling of what it’s like to race on his home continent of North America before his home race in Mexico next week.

And they enter on an optimistic high, after both cars made it to Q3 in Suzuka two weeks ago for the first time. Although as Haas related, that made for a learning process even then.

“Keep in mind that we learned the hard way that when you go to Q3, you have to start on your qualifying tires,” Haas explained. “So the people that beat us were people behind us that started on their medium tires and they had a 1-pit strategy where we had to pit twice.

“Obviously, I think some of the guys in front did the two-stop strategy but they had faster cars. But our cars were definitely faster and the cars are faster around the turns now. So I think that will help us quite a bit in the rest of the races.”

Haas embraces the team’s American-ness, but it isn’t a be-all, end-all for their success.

“We get a lot of people that would like to see us to, say, become the American team. We’d like to have people throw money at us, too,” he noted.

And unlike other teams which have either popped up and gone away, or faded after several years, Haas knows the future is bright because there is a wealth of knowledge to grow on for year two.

“The good news is we’re going to have a second season,” Haas said.

Steiner added, “Not everybody had that … We will have a second season.”

Additional reporting from NBC Sports’ Nate Ryan in Charlotte. Look for more from Grosjean, Gutierrez and the Haas F1 Team with Nate later this week on NBCSports.com.

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.