Jamie Chadwick: W Series champion says her "ultimate goal is Formula 1"

jamie-chadwick-w-series

On International Women’s Day, the decorated careers of women in sport, along with the perseverance and determination of female athletes around the world, is celebrated.

For two-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick, her glittering portfolio is one to behold, but her work to chip away at the glass ceiling that is male-dominated motorsports is perhaps her most impressive achievement.

The 23-year-old racing driver will return to the W Series this year with the aim of securing her third consecutive Championship title.

After an exhilarating 2021 campaign, the Brit emerged victorious for the second year running thanks to an immense run, overcoming a troubled start in Austria.

Chadwick was pushed the entire way by compatriot Alice Powell. In never-seen-before levels of competitiveness, the two found themselves tied on points as they entered the finale in Texas.

As Chadwick reflected on her second Championship win, she discussed the season ahead, including joining Caitlyn Jenner’s team and the harsh reality of missing out on securing a spot in Formula 3 or above.

An emphatic comeback

When Chadwick finished sixth in the opening race at the Red Bull Ring last June, the title race was already blown wide open.

Many expected the 23-year-old to recreate her inaugural winning campaign, where she dominated the series from the start. However, Powell snatched the first win and heaped the pressure on the defending champion.

But the initial setback didn’t affect Chadwick’s confidence, and she went on to finish on the podium for the remaining races.

She won four of the seven races, including a double triumph at the Circuit of the Americas to take home the title.

Chadwick reflected on the intense level of competition and admits she hopes for more of the same this year.

“It was tricky, it was neck-and-neck with Alice until the very last round. I’m anticipating the same sort of thing this year so it’s going to be close. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a several car battle for the championship this year.

“The more I’m pushed, the better it is for me so I hope it’s very competitive. The 2019 and 2021 seasons were different in the way the Championship unfolded so it’ll be interesting to see how things go this year.

“But I think we [the team] know what it takes to achieve the result, it’s just about executing that.”

Returning to W Series

With another trophy in the bag and 15 super licence points added to her name, Chadwick was looking to secure a seat in Formula 3 or Formula 2 for the 2022 season.

While it looked as though her next step up the ladder was about to come to fruition, she admitted she was unable to secure the funding in time for this season and ultimately missed out on the opportunity.

But despite the disappointment, Chadwick is excited to be returning to the W Series and expressed her gratitude for the chances she has been presented with so far in her career.

Jamie Chadwick

“There’s definitely a few people who were surprised [about her return to W Series] but the opportunity is still there and that’s the main thing for me, making the most of these great opportunities.

“It hasn’t worked out this time but while I’m disappointed, I’m not seeing it as a missed opportunity because I think there’s still opportunities with W Series and I can still achieve a lot here this year and hopefully go again for next year.”

W Series have invested a huge amount into my career and I wouldn’t be racing without them. I’ve had two years of racing fully funded and prize money to support that.

The reality of climbing the ladder

With just 50 available seats across both Formula 2 and Formula 3, there is huge pressure on those pushing to compete in the top bracket. Chadwick went on to discuss the issues with funding for women trying to break into the higher tiers of single seater racing. 

“It’s not just an issue for me, it’s an issue for a lot of young drivers coming through who don’t necessarily have the kind of financial support that they need to progress.

“W Series have given me a huge leg up and a helping hand in the process but achieving a seat — a competitive seat especially — in those series is an extortionate amount of money.”

Chadwick reflected on the careers of experienced drivers like Beitske Visser, who competed in LMP2 last year, and Powell, who is an Extreme E reserve driver.

She stressed the importance of acknowledging these drivers as equal trailblazers of the sport, and to not focus solely on her as the only ever W Series champion.

She highlighted the two racing veterans’ achievements to exemplify how W Series has helped other drivers grow in their careers, and how they have become flag bearers for the championship. 

Formula 1 dream

While it may be a tough task to break into the higher tiers of the racing championships, Chadwick has one very clear goal in mind.

“The ultimate goal is Formula 1. I want to have a professional career in the sport, I want to be racing at the top level. Whether F1 ends up being a reality or not, it’s still the goal to get to F3 and F2.”

While women have featured in Formula 1 in the past, the grid has not been shared in more than 40 years.

But with the competition now supporting W Series, and F1 Group CEO Stefano Domenicali hoping women will return to the world’s biggest stage in the next ten years, the future looks extremely bright for trailblazing racing drivers like Chadwick.

The two-time W Series champion will look to defend her title under her new team Jenner Racing. The season will get underway in Miami in May and will visit a number of new circuits, including a first ever Grand Prix weekend in Asia.

News Now - Sport News