Ecclestone on German GP: “We are trying to make it happen”

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Bernie Ecclestone is pushing to keep the German Grand Prix on the 2017 Formula 1 calendar, but says the race promoter is unable to afford an already-reduced hosting fee.

The German Grand Prix traditionally alternated between Hockenheim and the Nürburgring until 2015, when the race dropped off the calendar.

Hockenheim hosted the race in 2016 when it returned to the schedule, but is not in a position to stage it in consecutive years, while the Nürburgring has not welcomed F1 since 2013 due to financial difficulties.

The provisional 2017 F1 calendar was issued earlier this fall with Hockenheim listed as the German Grand Prix host, albeit as being “subject to agreement”.

“There is nothing sure yet. We are trying to make it happen,” Ecclestone told the official F1 website when asked about the German Grand Prix.

“It seems that the promoter can’t make it financially viable. They cannot pay a fee, which is a very reduced fee that we’ve done for them.

“It is not fair that they should pay a fee which is a lot less than the other European venues pay. We are trying to keep all the Europeans at the same amount.”

The struggles faced by the German Grand Prix come at a time when a German team, Mercedes, is dominating the sport and a German driver, Nico Rosberg, is within touching distance of the world championship.

Fellow Germans Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel won a combined 11 world titles during their careers, making the lack of interest in F1 puzzling.

“Maybe they don’t want Formula 1,” Ecclestone said.

“Yes, it is very strange if you see their F1 history, with several world champions and a very successful team.

“I don’t know what more they could have.”

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.