W Series Points Leader Jamie Chadwick Becomes Williams F1 Development Driver

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British racer Jamie Chadwick—a sports-car and single-seater driver who’s a race winner in British Formula 3, a champion in the British GT GT4 division, and, most recently, leads the points in the women-only W Series championship—just took on a new role: development driver for the Williams Formula One team.


Of course, Williams isn’t having the best time in F1 as of late, but that’s another topic for another time.

Williams announced the new addition to its driver academy Monday, saying that Chadwick, 21, would be a development driver for the team. The announcement came just off of Chadwick winning the first-ever race in the new and rightfully controversial W Series women’s championship, and as she leads the title points for the series’ six-race inaugural season.

As a development driver for Williams, the announcement said Chadwick will be “fully immersed with the team” at the track and at its base in the UK. She’ll get to do both the fun stuff, like simulator work and attending races, and the more mundane stuff, like “support[ing] the team in a number of media and marketing activities.”

The announcement mentioned that current and former F1 drivers like Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg, David Coulthard, Nico Hulkenberg and Valtteri Bottas all started their F1 careers there, and the team’s female deputy team principal, Claire Williams, said promoting women in motorsport is “extremely important.”

“Having a female role model as part of our Driver Academy will hopefully inspire young girls to take up racing at a young age,” she said. “We hope to show that motorsport is inclusive and exciting, be that as a driver or on the engineering side.”

That’s a good thing to show, no matter how hard the fight is to be included.


Rusty Starship

I guess I’m a little confused about the W Series’ role in the open-wheel FIA lineup. There are women drivers in both F2 and F3, yet, both of those are considered feeder series to F1. There are no women in F1. The W Series is entirely women and appears to be... Functioning as another feeder series to F1? I’m confused.

I feel like we’re supposed to believe that the W Series is to F1 as the LA Sparks are to the LA Lakers, but I just don’t see it. F1, while currently male-only, isn’t a male-only series (strictly by the rule book, here). I would think that every W Series driver has the end goal of driving in F1.