Jamie Chadwick, Williams, Silverstone, 2019

W Series champion Chadwick gets third year as Williams development driver

2021 F1 season

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Jamie Chadwick will spend a third year as a development driver at Williams, the team has announced.

The 22-year-old won the inaugural running of the W Series in 2019, the same year she joined Williams. She will return to the series this year as it runs exclusively alongside Formula 1 at eight rounds of the championship.

Williams said Chadwick will have an expanded role in the team’s simulator programme during the 2021 F1 season, as well as supporting the team at the track at selected rounds.

“I feel I am improving as a driver all the time and my time spent in the simulator this coming season will prove to be invaluable,” said Chadwick, who will also race in Extreme E this year for Veloce. “I look forward to fully immersing myself at Williams once again this year.”

Williams has previously confirmed another of its junior team members, Roy Nissany, will continue to work with the team this year. It is yet to decide whether its two other junior drivers from last season, Jack Aitken and Dan Ticktum, will remain with the team.

Nissany and Ticktum will race in Formula 2 this year. Aitken, who made his grand prix debut for Williams as a substitute for George Russell in last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix, is not expected to return to the feeder series.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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19 comments on “W Series champion Chadwick gets third year as Williams development driver”

  1. At one point I assumed Chadwick was on track to become the first legitimate female F1 driver in a bit, but honestly, with no F3 or F2 drive lined up (and seats are going rapidly) at 23 this year, time is slowly running its course on that.

    Not sure if Williams pays their “development” drivers anything, or helps them in their junior careers, but it seems unlikely for someone to get a F1 debut with only simulator experience and an Extreme E or W Series drive, surely, what a shame.

    1. Yeah she needs an F3 seat now really, so they can properly assess her against other up and coming drivers.

      1. She did Formula Regional F3 last year I think – didn’t go so well from memory.

    2. Agreed. I thought that with her success in the W series, she would have gotten an F2 drive, maybe as a part of the W series championship package. I’m starting to feel like her hopes of moving up in open wheel racing are withering on the vine.

    3. I hope she can race a lot this year.

      I think she’s the hottest talent on the ladder, I can think of no other driver who manages his career as well as she does. I do not know if it’s a problem with money but I’d hate to see all the promise she shows go to waste for things unrelated to sports.

  2. It would be great to see her in F3 or even F2, these ‘simulator’ roles often seem to be holding patterns. At least it keeps her name ‘out there’ a bit. Without Covid, I would be surprised if she couldn’t raise the budget for F3, she generates plenty of press, is very personable, and clearly has talent, and of the W Series thus far seems the best placed for progression.

  3. I hope she’s there as the best option development driver and not because of her gender. Trouble is that these days with all the diversity programs, you don’t really know if people are there for political or sporting reasons.

    1. @balue That’s an incredible thin line between making sure to equilibrate genders if you have two equal candidates, or just focus on making up the numbers. I think we could argue equilibrating genders if less represented gender is slightly below could still be beneficial as role models will lead to more entering the sport and getting a drive.

      I think it will be quite a big coup for the first team to sign and line up a capable female driver, so there must be some incentive. Capable is a key word as she will be examined and criticized like reigning world champion.

      Let’s hope that this is a transition period and that we keep a meritocracy and don’t have demographic representation in everything. Especially if you are chosen, you don’t want credit to be taken from you because of gender, color or whatever. The right focus should be on equal opportunities.

      1. F1 is a meritocracy, but there are many forms of merit.
        There is merit in driving fast, in developing a car, in building a team, in bringing in a lot of sponsor money (hello, pay drivers), in improving the image of the team and in generating loads of attention.

        If she is remotely competitive, I see no reason to select a slightly faster also-runner above her.

    2. And it would be cruel to her to not contemplate actually giving her a chance.

  4. Chadwick was excellent in the 2018–19 MRF Challenge Formula 2000. I watched all 15 races. She won 6 of them. She didn’t get any poles but she did enough to be crowned champion. She was great to watch. Lots of really good moves. And I thought she was solid in the W Series champion too.

    Since then Chadwick’s found things harder. She came 4th in the 2019-20 F3 Asian Championship with 1 win out of 15 races. The 2020 Formula Regional European Championship was even harder with nought wins out of 23 races and 9th position overall.

    F3 would be perfect for her now, although I don’t think she’d find it easy. But I really hope she keeps moving up the ladder and she’s only going to do that if she gets the opportunity to challenge herself and learn. She’s got a great personality and it would be awesome to have more women competing against the men at all levels of motorsport. I wish Jamie the absolute best.

  5. Is there any sort of substance behind that role ? Would love to see her having a go at some FP1, but I feel it’s more a PR job…

  6. Winning a full championship just to achieve the same role as Carmen Jorda at Lotus in 2015. In my opinion this is not good news. Winning a championship like the W series should guarantee at least one test in an F1 team. A REAL test. And it would be nice if the prize for winning that championship was a seat in F3 or F2 or at least an amount of money that allowed to get it.

    1. True, would be interesting, as far as I recall the few women who drove in f1 over the years were not very competitive, few seconds per lap slower than the leaders, so would be interesting to see how she’d stack up with a test.

    2. @esmiz Surely can’t be right that the W series is right underneath F1. Maybe an F3 test would be more fitting.

  7. Is Jamie as Sim driver actually a part of Williams overall uncompetitiveness?
    As a holder of the principle of “correct bum in the chair” I sincerely hope not. However, a female and the fact that probably Ferrari pays more $$’s for Brendon H. & Daniel K. [with actual F1 racing experience] etc. to do their Sim work does give me reservations.
    Agree that W champion does deserve a F3 drive, at min., in the following year to see where they are actually at.
    Racing improves the breed“, does it not?

    1. …GEEZ, I wish there was an ‘Edit’ function!!!!!!!!

      Just clarifying, I know many very capable women & no way against her simply on ‘Diversity’ grounds.
      Also enjoy very much watching women play sport as they display unquestionable attitude, and do not fall to the ground like many male “Prima Donnas”.

    2. But are Brendon H. and Daniil K. as Sim drivers actually a part of Ferrari overall uncompetitiveness?
      Sorry, not attacking, but you’ve chosen a bad example of competitive team with successful car development at the moment.

      Speaking about Jamie at Williams, hate to say it, but it was a very conservative team, so much that it cost them bankruptcy. I doubt they listened much to her feedback anyway (but maybe they should, who knows now).
      It is a big shame she didn’t get a seat in F2 this year. F3 is a questionable option – racing there at 23 against 17yo guys would be awkward.
      The best solution in my opinion would be moving to US series: Indy or NASCAR. US market is much better suited for a female drivers as well with all those “stories” and “dramas” which US viewers love so. Jamie could be a huge success there. Of course F1 has Netflix now, but it’s still long way to go to create such a big dramatic show, for now it’s still a circus.

    3. One dev driver is not going to offset 200 million in spending on R&D compared to MB, RB, or Ferrari (which still did lackluster last season) – their lack of results has more to do with a wonky aero package and their transmission packaging. Her inclusion at Williams provides additional press and clicks and that is worthwhile when seeking out the sponsors and ad revenue that help you offset a 200 million gap. Additionally, most of the drivers in the top 200 are relatively interchangeable for these roles, so rolling the dice on Chadwick is of little potential risk and of reasonable reward.

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