Abu Dhabi in talks over F1 layout change to aid overtaking

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Formula 1 track designer Hermann Tilke has confirmed talks are ongoing regarding a possible layout change for the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi to try and aid overtaking.

Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix offered little in the way of on-track action as Valtteri Bottas took a commanding victory for Mercedes ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton, who vented his frustration over the difficulty of following other cars and the lack of overtaking spots.

Speaking to Sky Sports following the race, track designer Tilke confirmed a layout tweak was under consideration in the hope of making overtaking more viable.

“We have an idea to change one corner. It’s a very small change but maybe it has a lot of impact for overtaking,” Tilke said.

“We are in discussions.”

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner agreed there was a need to investigate what changes could be made to the Yas Marina Circuit to improve the on-track spectacle.

“It is something that we should certainly look at. It is such a wonderful setting and a fantastic background to sign off the season,” Horner told reporters in Abu Dhabi.

“If there was a couple of tweaks that could be done, that would introduce better overtaking opportunities, I am sure the commercial rights holder would be interested to do that.

“Today was not F1 at its best. We have seen more exciting races this season.”

Daniel Ricciardo was the only driver who qualified in the top 10 not to score a point in Abu Dhabi on Sunday following his retirement, which accounted for the single position gain through the race of those finishing fourth to eighth.

Fernando Alonso was the only points scorer to gain multiple places, rising from 11th to ninth after passing Williams’ Felipe Massa.

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.