Brazil ‘far along’ for Formula One return

Getty Images
3 Comments

RIO DE JANEIRO — President Jair Bolsonaro says there is a “99% chance” that Rio de Janeiro will host Formula One’s Brazilian Grand Prix starting in 2021 — the latest in a battle with Sao Paulo, the current host city.

Bolsonaro made the announcement at a news conference alongside Rio de Janeiro state Gov. Wilson Witzel and F1 CEO Chase Carey. Bolsonaro said plans are “already very far along,” although Carey said only that they are negotiating.

“We will not lose Formula One. Sao Paulo’s contract ends next year and they’ve decided Formula 1 will come back to Rio de Janeiro,” Bolsonaro said.

Carey said his goal is to continue Grand Prix racing in Brazil.

“We are focused on finding the best opportunity for everybody for 2021 forward,” he said. “… I’ve talked about every race being a Super Bowl. We want to make our races events that captivate the entire city and region’s imagination when we’re here, and we want to be in a destination city that really captures the world’s imagination.”

When asked if Rio de Janeiro’s violence could be a problem for hosting the event, Witzel responded that homicide rates have gone down since he became governor in January and he expects to add 10,000 new police officers through 2021 while spending more on surveillance equipment.

Rio de Janeiro has not hosted Formula One since 1989 and does not currently have a racetrack.

Bolsonaro previously said a new track could be ready in six to seven months. However, Rio Motorsports, the consortium that is leading the effort to bring the race to Rio, told The Associated Press that a track would take 16 to 17 months to complete.

In neighboring Sao Paulo state, Gov. Joao Doria called his own news conference for Tuesday with representatives from Formula One.

After Bolsonaro’s comments, Doria told the G1 news portal that keeping the F1 race in Sao Paulo “is not a personal desire” but instead is “an economic issue.” He has previously said that Sao Paulo, the country’s biggest city, “won’t give up” its status as the Grand Prix host.

“How can you imagine that an investment that does not yet exist, is not projected or planned … will get an international racetrack approved to organize the (Grand) Prix of Formula One in 2020?” Doria asked last month.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

3 Comments

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.