While Jamie Chadwick has made a big career shift by moving to the United States to race in the recently rebranded Indy NXT championship, she has not stopped thinking about racing in Formula 1 just yet. The British driver spoke to Feeder Series about her plans for the 2023 season and beyond.
By Jeroen Demmendaal
After several years of dominating W Series whilst trying to climb the feeder series ladder further, Jamie Chadwick has shifted gears heading into 2023. The 24-year-old has signed with Indy NXT powerhouse Andretti Autosport and is heavily backed by DHL Americas in a deal that seems destined to catapult her into the NTT IndyCar Series before too long.
F1 still on Chadwick’s mind
Nevertheless, Chadwick has not yet given up on a future in Formula 1, particularly as her partnership with the Williams Academy enters its fifth year.
“F1 is definitely still there, and I’m maintaining the relationship with Williams this year,” she told Feeder Series when asked whether Formula 1 is still on her mind. “It’s a long-term relationship I’ve had and one I really, really value.”
“I don’t see it as black and white, as there is IndyCar in America and then there’s F1 in Europe. I definitely see a capability of there being a crossover – for all drivers actually, even in IndyCar. I would love to see opportunities for those drivers to cross over into Formula 1 and even potentially vice versa.
“So, from my side, I see it as being fluid. My ultimate focus is to just have success in whatever I am racing in. The focus is on Indy NXT at the moment, but we’ll see in the future. I’ve got goals to also race in IndyCar of course, and if the opportunity came around I’d love to be in Formula 1 as well. But there’s a lot to achieve before that’s even talked about.”
A step up in performance
The next item on Chadwick’s agenda before the season opener in St. Petersburg, Florida, is to familiarise herself with the new Firestone tyres at a series test on January 23. After years of racing on Cooper tyres, Indy NXT is switching to the same rubber supplier as the IndyCar Series. Chadwick is curious to see what the Firestones can do and has heard good things about them so far.
“I think from what I’ve heard, the Firestones are going to be a good step up in performance, lap time and general, overall grip,” she told Feeder Series. “The thing I was surprised by with the Cooper is how much the car moves. How long the tyre lasts on the one side, but you don’t necessarily have the peak performance or peak grip that the feedback currently is about the Firestone.
“That said, we only have a handful of days before the first race, so it’s going to be a bit of a jump in the deep end for everyone with the new tyre, learning as much as we can. But I’m looking forward to experiencing that, especially as I haven’t got that much running on the Cooper already – so that [they] won’t be too new for me [when the season starts].”
Making progress in Indy NXT testing
The January 23 test at Homestead will be Chadwick’s fifth run in the Indy NXT car. She has showed good results in her test outings so far, rapidly improving her pace and competitiveness. With the track to herself during her first test at Sebring in September last year, she impressed both the team and ad hoc driver coach Kyle Kirkwood with her adaptability and speed.
Despite suffering a minor setback when she hit the wall during the first collective test session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in October, Chadwick secured more valuable track time at Barber Motorsports Park. She then followed that up with a top-four classification on both days during the series test at Sebring in November.
Chadwick’s first Indy NXT race will take place on March 5 as part of the support roster for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Editor’s note: The headline of this article was altered after publication for clarity.
Header photo credit: Penske Entertainment – Joe Skibinski
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