Jamie Chadwick: Formula 1 goal is more realistic now

by Sudha Sundararaj

Jamie Chadwick has the distinction of winning the inaugural W Series championship in 2019. The British racing driver won $500,000 in prize money after winning the women only motorsport series.

In recent years, there has been a serious quest to find qualified women drivers to be part of Formula 1, the pinnacle of motorsport. The exorbitantly high cost of making it through the tough ecosystem of the lower formulae into the ultra-competitive world of Formula 1 serves as a deterrent for many talented young drivers.

The barrier to entry is especially high for young women drivers as there have not been many women who have made it to the highest levels of Formula 1. In recent years, the late María de Villota, Susie Wolff, Tatiana Calderone and Simona de Silvestro have been affiliated with Formula 1 teams.

Jamie Chadwick is a development driver with the Williams F1 team since 2019. The twenty-one year old was not able to find enough sponsorship and money to drive in the F3 championship in 2020. She will stay in the W Series and the Asian F3 championship in 2020.

As the young woman driver with the most visibility and opportunities to make it to Formula 1, Chadwick is in a special position right now. Chadwick speaking to the Guardian newspaper about the current state of her career and her goal of reaching Formula 1 said: “It always has been, but now it’s a little more realistic than it was a year or two ago.

“And then when you think, I want to be a racing driver, you think, I want to race in Formula 1. But you say that, and you never actually think it’s going to happen. It’s still a mad thought, to think that one day it could be possible.

“Even now, immersing myself with Williams, I still have pinch-me moment. But, yeah, it’s the ultimate goal. I’m under no illusions as to how tough it’ll be to get there.

“I want to do it on merit. I don’t want to do it because I’m a token female racing driver. I really feel that given the right opportunity and the right support, it is possible, not just for me, but for women, to race competitively in Formula 1. Ultimately, I want to be the one to prove that.”

Jamie Chadwick is confident that women can manage the huge physical demands of Formula 1. She said: “The G-forces your body goes through when you’re in a Formula 1 car, or any single-seater, is huge, and that puts a lot of strain on your neck.

“Going up the ranks, you don’t have power steering. You have to be mentally fit so you don’t get to that point of fatigue. A lot of people say, women can definitely race in Formula 1 because it’s not a physical sport.

“Well, it is a physical sport, but I think it’s a level that women can get to.”

The progress of this ambitious young woman racing driver through the ranks will be watched with great interest in the motorsport world.

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