Sauber hoping to confirm 2017 F1 line-up by end of season

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Sauber Formula 1 chief Monisha Kaltenborn says the team is aiming to confirm its line-up for the 2017 season before the checkered flag falls on the current campaign in Abu Dhabi on November 27.

Sauber has fielded Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson for the past two seasons, with both drivers bringing significant financial backing to the team that helped keep it afloat during a rough period.

The long-term future of Sauber was secured over the summer when Longbow Finance completed a takeover, ensuring the operation will remain on the F1 grid in 2017.

Ericsson is understood to have links to the team’s new owners, and is likely to stay, although questions still linger about Nasr’s future.

Speaking on Friday ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix, Sauber team principal Kaltenborn gave an update on the progress being made for 2017.

“We are still in the process of analyzing our options but it’s not going to take that long any more,” Kaltenborn said.

“We still have the target that we do want to announce in the season, so there’s not that much time left.

“So that’s all I can tell you now.”

Following a flurry of driver announcements earlier this week, Sauber now holds two of the remaining four free seats on the grid for 2017.

Manor is the only other team yet to firm up its line-up, having lost Esteban Ocon to Force India for 2017 earlier this week, while Esteban Gutierrez is chasing a new drive after losing his seat at Haas to Kevin Magnussen.

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.