British driver Jamie Chadwick ‘hugely excited’ to join Andretti Autosport

British driver Jamie Chadwick will compete in the United States next year after signing a contract with Andretti Autosport.

The 24-year-old from Bath has been the dominant force of the all-female W Series, winning the championship on three occasions.

The W Series was established in 2019 to serve as a springboard to Formula One. But despite Chadwick’s success, she failed to land a seat in F1’s feeder categories.

The future of the W Series is also in major doubt after it was forced to abandon its most recent season amid financial troubles.

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Following her switch to America, Chadwick will become the first female driver since fellow Briton Pippa Mann in 2010 to race full-time in the Indy NXT series.

“I’m hugely excited to be joining Andretti Autosport for the 2023 INDY NXT season,” said Chadwick, who will make her debut in the season-opening round in Florida on March 5.

“My aim is always to challenge myself and continue my progression as a driver, and this represents not only a big step up, but also a big step towards my goal of competing in the highest categories of single seater racing.

“Andretti Autosport’s standing in the sport is second to none and I hope to bring more success to such a prestigious team. I can’t wait to get started.”

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Andretti Autosport is owned by former F1 driver Michael Andretti, and the son of world champion, Mario Andretti.

He said: “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but the INDY NXT series 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.”

Chadwick’s move to America is a clear sign F1 is no closer to ending its near half-century female driver drought.

It has been 46 years since a female competitor – the Italian Lella Lombardi – took part in an F1 race, and eight years since Susie Wolff, who is married to Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, competed in a Grand Prix practice session.

Last month, the sport’s bosses unveiled the F1 Academy – a women-only category – which will launch next year.

F1 will subsidise each of the 15 cars with a budget of £130,000, with the driver required to cover the same amount and the team making up the remainder of the costs.

The series will consist of 21 races – three races at seven rounds – and will feature on the undercard of at least one F1 event.