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F1 MUST learn from Jamie Chadwick’s career trajectory

F1 MUST learn from Jamie Chadwick’s career trajectory

F1 MUST learn from Jamie Chadwick’s career trajectory

F1 MUST learn from Jamie Chadwick’s career trajectory

Jamie Chadwick is one of the most successful female racing drivers of her generation - but it has become increasingly unlikely she will ever reach Formula 1.

Despite securing a historic Indy NXT win, the first woman to do so, Chadwick’s career should have progressed significantly further by now.

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The 26-year-old originally targeted a seat in F3, but has missed out on a traditional F1 feeder series career, and now races in the U.S.

If F1 seriously want a female driver on the grid, they need to examine why a talent such as Chadwick never received a serious opportunity to progress to the pinnacle of motorsport.

Who is Jamie Chadwick?

Chadwick began karting at the age of 11, but made the move to single seaters in 2017 competing in the British F3 Championship (now GB3).

During the 2018 season she became the first female British F3 race winner with a victory at Brands Hatch.

However, Chadwick credits the all-female W Series as having the biggest impact on her career, achieving three back-to-back titles before the series ended prematurely in 2022, going into administration the following year.

The series was free to race in, eliminating the financial burden for Chadwick whilst she gained crucial experience in single seaters.

As a support series to F1, the W Series also provided female racers like Chadwick with an international platform to showcase their talent.

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Why didn’t Chadwick move to F3?

F3 feeds young talent into F1

After her second W Series title, Chadwick was poised to join F3 in 2022, however failed to acquire a drive - despite the $1 million (£736,000) prize money from her championship victories.

Speaking to MotorSport, Chadwick said: "The next step is still four times the budget I have. It’s still not the easiest so we haven’t been able to confirm a programme just yet."

Bruno Michel, F2 and F3 boss, revealed the series had been eager to accept Chadwick, however she returned to the W Series with Jenner Racing.

“I don’t really understand why she couldn’t get a seat in Formula 3, to be perfectly honest. There were teams that were ready to take her,” Michel said to RaceFans.

“I know there’s been a discussion with one team, I don’t know what happened at the end.

“And I think it’s a pity because I think she would be ready for Formula 3 and she’s not here and she’s going to do another year in W Series.

“So it is what it is. And she decides on what she wants to do with her management, her career.”

After winning her third W Series title in 2022, Chadwick abandoned the European racing circuit altogether, with Indy NXT and Andretti Autosport embracing her across the pond.

Could Williams have done more to aid Chadwick?

Chadwick is part of the Williams Driver Academy

Chadwick has also been a part of the Williams Driver Academy since 2019, however failed to earn enough super license points to take part in any practice sessions with the F1 team.

However, could Williams have done more to ensure Chadwick gained a seat in F3 or F2?

Academies offer drivers the chance to develop their skills and understanding of F1 machinery, sometimes providing financial support for their junior career.

Whilst the level of Williams’ involvement in helping Chadwick secure a seat in F2/3 is unknown, they have undoubtedly aided her career in her role as a development driver.

Is Andretti key to Chadwick’s F1 future?

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Chadwick drives for Andretti Global in Indy NXT

After her first and historic win in Indy NXT, Chadwick’s Andretti future looks promising with the potential to progress up to the IndyCar series.

Furthermore, if Andretti successfully joins F1 in 2028, will Chadwick be primed and ready for their team?

The F1 driver market is hard to break into, however, with racers competing for longer and young talent also fighting for a seat.

Chadwick will be 30-years of age by 2028, too old to be the future of a team but still lacking F1 experience.

What can F1 learn from Chadwick?

Chadwick’s career demonstrates the consequences of when F1 fails to support talented female drivers, stalling her career just as it was taking off.

If F1’s all-female academy is to succeed, it needs to examine the mistakes of the past to ensure women progress up the feeder series ladder.

However, F1’s loss is IndyCar’s gain, and Chadwick’s Road America victory is a momentous achievement not only for women in motorsport, but in the career of the British champion who will undoubtedly build on this success.

READ MORE: F1 champion SLAMS Ferrari in thinly-veiled swipe

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