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F1 needs to FIX female pathway after Jamie Chadwick success

F1 needs to FIX female pathway after Jamie Chadwick success

F1 needs to FIX female pathway after Jamie Chadwick success

F1 needs to FIX female pathway after Jamie Chadwick success

Jamie Chadwick has slowly proven her doubters wrong throughout her career and is starting to build some momentum.

Despite securing a historic Indy NXT win recently - becoming the first woman to do so, Chadwick’s career should have progressed much more by now.

READ MORE: F1 insider reveals why Sainz's move to Red Bull fell apart

The 26-year-old originally targeted a seat in F3, but missed out and moved away from 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 Formula 3 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 went into administration in 2023.

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.

READ MORE: Mercedes to Ferrari? Wolff delivers verdict on NUMEROUS key figures departing

F3 feeds young talent into F1

Why didn’t Chadwick move to F3?

After her second W Series title, Chadwick was poised to join Formula 3 in 2022, however failed to acquire a drive - despite the $1 million (£736,000) prize money from her championship victories.

She told MotorSport magazine that the prize money she received ‘amounted to just a quarter of the money she needed to progress’ into F3.

F2/3 boss, Bruno Michel, revealed that 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.Net.

“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?

Young driver academies offer drivers the chance to develop their skills and understanding of F1 machinery, and sometimes provide financial support for their drivers in junior series.

Former Red Bull junior Juri Vips revealed how crucial financial support from Red Bull was to compete in F2 and F3.

“I couldn’t have continued racing if it wasn't for Red Bull. They gave me this opportunity,” Vips said.

Whilst Williams’ involvement in obtaining a F2/F3 seat for Chadwick is unknown, they have undoubtedly aided her career in giving her a role as a development driver.

Is Andretti key to Chadwick’s F1 future?

READ MORE: IndyCar star shows MAJOR support for Andretti F1 bid

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.

In 2028 Chadwick will be 30-years of age, making an F1 seat an even tougher task.

What can F1 learn from Chadwick?

Chadwick’s career demonstrates what happens when F1 fails to support talented female drivers, with the Brit halted just when her career began to take 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: History-making Chadwick takes INCREDIBLE Indy NXT win

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Mercedes F1 F3 W Series Jamie Chadwick Indy NXT
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