First test, first points Steiner’s highlights of Haas F1’s debut season

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Guenther Steiner has picked his highlights of Haas Formula 1 Team’s debut season as being its first test in Barcelona and first points on debut in Australia.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas took his eponymous F1 operation onto the grid in 2016 after many years of planning, becoming the first American outfit on the grid in 30 years.

Haas debuted the VF-16 car at pre-season testing in Barcelona in February before making its race bow at the Australian Grand Prix.

Romain Grosjean starred on debut to take sixth for Haas in Melbourne before going one better two weeks later in Bahrain, where he finished fifth.

Ahead of the final race of the 2016 season next Sunday, team principal Steiner picked out his two favorite moments of a memorable debut year for Haas in F1.

“There are two moments that stand out: going out in Barcelona for the first time with a new team during testing and then going to our first race and scoring points,” Steiner said.

“It was like: ‘Wow, did we do this?’ We’ve had our ups and downs, and we will have more of them, but there have been a few moments that all the team members will remember for the rest of their lives.”

Haas’ approach has been different to that of other teams, working closely with technical partner Ferrari in the run-up to its debut season, with Steiner putting its success down to Gene Haas’ vision.

“Thanks to Gene Haas, who had the belief in the idea that we would have to do it differently because more of the same would not work,” Steiner said.

“Gene’s wish was to find a different way. We did and it worked out. I think we surprised a lot of people and I think a lot of people admit it, and I think we are perceived now as one of the 11 F1 teams.

“Few would think that we are only in our first season, which is more than a compliment and that is what we want to be.

“We want to be respectable for our own sake and for the sake of F1. I think people look at us now and say they are part of the show.”

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.