Red Bull would not let Carlos Sainz Jr. join Mercedes F1

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Red Bull Formula 1 chief Christian Horner has rubbished the idea of letting Carlos Sainz Jr. join rivals Mercedes as the search continues for Nico Rosberg’s replacement.

Sainz was named as a possible candidate for the vacant seat at Mercedes following Rosberg’s shock announcement, with the Spaniard currently racing for Red Bull’s junior team, Toro Rosso.

Sainz remains under contract with Toro Rosso for the 2017 season, but with Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo locked in at the senior team for the foreseeable future, it looks unlikely that he will be able to move any higher within the Red Bull setup.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Horner said that Red Bull would not consider letting Sainz go, believing him to be too valuable to its current operation.

“Why would we do that?” Horner said when asked if Red Bull would consider letting Sainz go.

“Carlos has done a great job. He is a Red Bull driver. We have invested in him to get him into F1 and they are all on long-term contracts.

“So it wouldn’t make any sense to feed one of your main opponents with one of your assets.”

Mercedes junior Pascal Wehrlein and Williams driver Valtteri Bottas are currently leading the race for Rosberg’s seat despite neither having won a grand prix.

However, Horner believes that the true quality of the drivers would only become clear once given a top seat, with the likes of Ricciardo and former Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel flourishing after spending time towards the back of the field in the early part of their F1 careers.

“You give these guys a chance. Let’s see what people can do in a front-running car,” Horner said.

“If they did take Wehrlein or Bottas, both are probably both capable of running right at the front.

“You just don’t know until you give them the chance, which is what we did with Sebastian Vettel, and Daniel Ricciardo.”

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.