Jamie Chadwick, Williams, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, 2021

Chadwick makes surprise return to W Series for second title defence

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Jamie Chadwick, winner of both W Series championships held since the series was launched in 2019, will return to defend her title again this year.

Her return to the all-female series was not expected after the series awarded FIA superlicence points for the first time last year. At one stage the series indicated past champions would not be allowed to return.

Prior to the postponement of the 2020 championship due to the Covid-19 pandemic, W Series racing director Dave Ryan said “from the 2020 W Series season onwards, W Series has been granted FIA superlicence points eligibility, and one of the criteria attached to that is that the winning driver of the W Series championship may not compete in consecutive W Series championships.”

However W Series’ rules allow Chadwick to return on the proviso that she cannot collect further superlicence points. The regulations note: “Should the winner of The W Series championship compete in the following years W Series championship the driver will be ineligible for any FIA superlicence points in that following year. Furthermore, any FIA superlicence points allocated to her finishing position in that year will remain unallocated.”

Chadwick will drive for the recently-launched Jenner Racing, headed by former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner.

“I am really excited to be returning to W Series to defend my title,” said Chadwick. “To be asked to return by Jenner Racing was an opportunity I didn’t think twice about. Together, we are focused on doing all we can to win title number three. I have spoken to Caitlyn Jenner and her vision for the team is amazing. I have zero doubt that she will be able to help take my career to the next level and open doors for me internationally.”

Chadwick was understood to have pursued a move into FIA Formula 3. But with only four seats left on the grid, her strongest chance of racing elsewhere in 2022 is expected to come in Euroformula Open.

Chadwick says she has a “big development year” ahead. “I have plans to run a supporting racing programme and I have made no secret of my desire to compete in F3 and F2. But timing is everything and the opportunity that W Series gives me to get more competitive experience at world-class circuits is a key step on my journey towards competing in F1.

“I would like to thank W Series for their continued support, and I am looking forward to kicking off season three in Miami.”

Williams is yet to confirm whether Chadwick will remain part of their driver development academy, which she has been a member of since 2019.

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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  • 34 comments on “Chadwick makes surprise return to W Series for second title defence”

    1. If a double champion, like Jamie, can’t get an F3 drive the W Series is failing

      1. Maybe they need to look to sim racers… The current crop of female drivers are just not good enough.

        1. @theessence I’d love to see what Emily Jones could do in an actual racing car

      2. Well, it’s a matter of meritocracy vs diversity. Ah I change my mind as I’m typing this. Of course she’d get a drive, if she had sponsors or a rich daddy like Stroll Junior and such “talents”. W series, that’s definitely a poorly executed idea. First they need talented drivers, then to create a championship to develop them. I’d start with junior categories, a whole chain, and who knows, it may work (without proper sponsors it won’t anyway).

        1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
          22nd February 2022, 20:52

          if she had sponsors or a rich daddy like Stroll Junior

          Her parents are rich enough to pay for the ‘create a new team in F1’-fee. That’s not an excuse, meaning lack of proper skills is.

      3. Seems like it’s succeeding in letting a whole bunch of people race cars around the world when they would normally be looking for a career that fits their interests and talents.

      4. Honestly, I never really had high hopes for this segregated W-Series in the first place. Its not what’s best for these women to succeed in motorsports. In fact, you can argue this series does the absolute opposite to what its intended. These drivers need to be going against the best because that is how one gets better and proves their standing amongst the competition. At some point they have to race those running in the feeder series anyways, so why remove them from that? Makes no sense to me. What should be in place, is some sort of support system in the form of a driver academy to get behind the women that have that potential to make it and finding them a spot in good machinery in the formulas.

        Personally, I don’t think Chadwick is a bad driver. She showed she was competitive in the GT4s so I think she could find a spot in the GT racing arena. I just don’t think she’s adapted well to formula racing and thus would not end up making it to F1.

        1. I think it was Brundle at the time that suggested that instead of doing the W Series, they should use that budget to run an all-female F3/F2 team. Female staff, female drivers, the whole works. That way they could assure that there was always opportunities for women to break into the sport on all levels, rather than running a separate sport.

          There’s something to be said for either idea, if the idea is that women and men -even in motorsport- are just not able to compete on equal footing due to genetic differences, than W Series is the way to go and grow that to be an alternative to other top racing series. If the idea is that due to the nature of motorsport, men and women could be on equal competitive footing, than I’d say Brundle’s suggestion is the better one, and gives women like Chadwick a legitimate shot at making it to F1 by proving it in competition with men.

          1. @sjaakfoo
            I think motorsports is one sport where both sexes can compete together as the machinery is an equalizer. The main issue here is the pool of women is no where near as large as the pool of men involved in motorsports. So finding that female version of Senna is going to be a lot harder and longer to find.

    2. We had such high hopes for the W Series getting a woman into F1. Or at least into a competitive ride in F2.

      What I don’t understand is why the W Series championship doesn’t include a test run in F3, F2, or, better yet, F1. If Jamie had the opportunity to test in a competitive car on the same day and at the same track as known, talented/successful drivers, then we – and potential teams and sponsors – would have some idea of her potential. Right now, no one knows if she has the ability to be competitive in F3/F2 …

      Seems like the W Series isn’t getting much accomplished if the star driver can’t move up.

      1. Everyone knows her potential. 2020 FREC championship: her 3 Prema team mates all scored 350 points, while all she could managed was 80, even losing to someone like Vips who only participated in 3 out of 8 weekends. Embarassing stuff, so it’s not a surprise she’s in for another easy paycheck in 2022.

        1. @armchairexpert You are right, both Vips and Hauger competed in 3 races and finished ahead in the championship. The fact of the matter is, I very much doubt Chadwick would be anything other than a backmarker in F3 and I would say it’s better to become a legend of the W-series than an irrelevant backmarker in F3 and be forgotten about.

      2. @Stephen H

        We had such high hopes for the W Series getting a woman into F1.

        The kinds of people who are blinded by their ideals may have, but more realistic people did not.

        Why would F1 be interested in a driver that ‘proves’ herself in a very weak talent pool?

    3. ABC feat. Jamie Chadwick – (How to Be A) Millionaire

    4. They shouldn’t waste more money on her. She’s had a chance and the spotlight to progress, but has shown she isn’t good enough to compete in the midfield or front of a mixed gender series.

      It’s time to give the focus and opportunities to another girl who might have the talent required to progress.

      Is it a publicity exercise to fill their own pockets and tick boxes, or do they want to find someone who is good enough?

      Disappointing.

      1. Fed up of hearing about her for years, and knowing that she’s never going to win anything.

    5. I think it’s pretty sad that a double title winner can’t get enough budget for an F3 drive. I do enjoy the W Series, but it shows the flaws in the system if a prominent champion can’t get together a budget for F3 and/or convince a team she has the talent to take a punt on. If she can’t do it, I really can’t see how any future champion can either, unless they’re from a wealthy family/have a wealthy backer.

      1. I think it’s pretty sad that a double title winner can’t get enough budget for an F3 drive.

        Even if you gave her a free ride in Formula 3, she’d still lack the talent to compete and would get beat by drivers 5 or more years her junior.

        That she is still good enough to dominate “W series” only shows how little talent there is to fill those ranks.

      2. Huh? Her parents are near billionaire status and have never been shy at spending money on her career.

      3. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
        22nd February 2022, 20:50

        a million bucks should get a you a nice F3-seat for a full season. Maybe not with the best team, but high enough to make a proper impression. The only reason to not take it is knowing you can’t make a dent with anything that a top-tier team. Which means that you’re not good enough. Simple as that.

    6. Well, now they have a heel to boo in the series as someone had to not get a seat to give her one, and she’ll seem to do it only for the money, screw the ideal of promoting diversity in the professional racing.

      1. Diversity is not helped by putting people in seats that their talent doesn’t qualify them for.

    7. Well, she did beat Mick Schumacher in the Race of Champions round of 16. Our current F1 driver lineup is hardly a meritocracy.

    8. Danica Patrick.

      For all those saying Chadwick possibly has used up her chance and would not be able to to compete in higher categories…Danica Patrick. Marketing 101 and she got her shot in IndyCar and NASCAR…she was competitive for mid-field but possibly far longer than she deserved to be there. She made the best of it and set a massively positive role for female drivers. The fact that she was there getting a shot was what she wanted and got. All drivers, male and female, come and go, not everyone is Lewis, Michael, Dale or Jimmie (Mr. Stockcar racer that was absolutely terrible in every category until he stepped in the Cup Series and won 7 championships). We didn’t know it until they got their shot. This hate for Chadwick is baffling to me.

      1. Apologies in advance as i know I’m gonna something that is not popular in this social media war era…. But DP has been real competitive in occasion in Indycar, which is the top level in US. So yeah, she wasn’t that good with car setup and qualy, but she was damn fast in race trim and was never shying of a wheel to wheel fight. And yeah, she was miss pout (like quite a few modern driver) and was ultimately more interested in modelling and whatnot. But she remains one of the few women who showed that they can compete against male

    9. For me W series missed its real opportunity – they ought to have had one man and one woman in each team, maybe a couple extra cars. Proving themselves against male drivers would have helped really cement the reputations of the women who were competitive, and if would have looked progressive without needing to be solely limited to women.

      Extreme E sort of gets the idea but slightly hides behind having them both in the same team so you can’t really tell the relative performances, at least not easily. Though Extreme E in general would benefit from twice as many cars with each car having only one driver.

      “We had such high hopes for the W Series getting a woman into F1. Or at least into a competitive ride in F2.”

      This is the other problem – W Series is not and never was a direct stepping stone to F1, but they didn’t really work that hard to disabuse anyone of that notion and the general non-motorsports media have rather taken to assuming that that’s what it’s there to do. It isn’t, not directly anyway. It’s there to help more women get further up the ladder. W Series is basically an F4 level series, maybe somewhere between a decent but not brilliant national F3 series and the international FIA F3 at best.

      Maybe ultimately enough women going through W series gets enough women into other series to get a woman to F1, but any woman who makes it to F1 will have made it in bigger series than the W series.

      1. @Robert McKay

        Your idea would have led to a slaughter, with the men occupying the top spots and the women being at the bottom. Just look at Extreme E for the quality difference between the female and male driver in such an arrangement. That’s why they use relay racing in Extreme E, so the difference is not obvious from the standings.

        it would have looked progressive without needing to be solely limited to women.

        I think that you are confused about modern progressives. They want equal outcomes, not equal opportunity, so they wouldn’t consider the outcome to be progressive (and would blame the lack of success of the women on institutional sexism in a mixed W Series).

    10. Amazed at how sexist the comments are here, denigrating JC as being not worth the effort as she’s not managed to be in a par with some decently talented male drivers over one series in 2020.

      How will we know how good she is, as a double W Series champion if she is not given a chance to show it. She has been tremendously successful throughout her career and I for one, would like to see just how she would fare in a Williams at a practice session, as she has earned the licence points and right to do.

      Come on Jost, give her a go

      1. How will we know how good she is, as a double W Series champion if she is not given a chance to show it.

        She was, and she didn’t impress.

        Come on Jost, give her a go

        What are we trying to accomplish here, a shootout between young Mr Nissany and young Ms Chadwick on the most unqualified person to drive a Formula 1 car in 2022? (Don’t cry, Niki, you’re still the most unqualified person to race a Formula 1 car in 2022!)

      2. How will we know how good she is, as a double W Series champion if she is not given a chance to show it.

        Chadwick drove all rounds of the 2020 Formula Regional European Championship alongside her three teammates Petecof, Rasmussen, and Arthur Leclerc. Those guys took the first three places in the championship, with 359, 343 and 343 points. Chadwick only scored 80 and finished 9th.

        F1 teams would love the marketing appeal of a female driver, just like they loved putting people in their cars from countries that have a huge population but little F1 presence. Still, they can’t just accept anyone. For all the criticism a guy like Stroll gets, he is a solid, dependable driver. He pmight not keep his drive without his dad’s millions, but on his better days he can even give 4-time champion Vettel a run for his money.

      3. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
        22nd February 2022, 20:48

        How is comparing results sexist? Should she be cut more slack for being a female driver? How’s that for being equal? It’s simple: if you don’t perform good enough in lower categories, you’re not going to make it to the big league. Regardless of whether you have something dingling in your pants. If anything, it’s sexist that you want her to be given an unfair chance for not having shown anything worthwhile simply because she’s a woman…

        1. @barryfromdownunder

          That judging women for their results, rather than their gender, is considered sexist by the standards of modern progressivism says a lot about that ideology…

    11. A short look at “W series'” talent pool should be enough to explain the lack of

      They have people in their 30s racing cars anyone over 17 shouldn’t sit in outside of personal track days.

      There is probably a list of dozens, maybe hundreds of accomplished racers in the same age range that could out-compete every single current participant.

    12. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      22nd February 2022, 20:45

      My original comment from back when the W-Series was first announced and I predicted this scenario was deleted. Simply for stating that creating a series in which you force only female drivers (the only autosport series that discriminates based on gender mind you) from a bunch of low categories will never get you anywhere. Yeah, you might win it once (or in this case twice), but then what? You’ve proven yourself against drivers that haven’t gotten anywhere in any sub-par series.

      If there is an F1-worthy female driver, every team would be lining up to sign her: it would be PR-gold. Truth is that there aren’t any and unless you prove yourself against worthy opponents (like in F4, F3 and F2), that’s not going to happen. And it’s not because someone is a woman they don’t get a fair chance. If they have financial backing (aka rich dads or mums), they can always pull a Stroll. But even Stroll has SOME skill.

      W-Series will flop, just like I predicted it would, because it blames everything and everyone and refuses to see the facts for what they are: there isn’t a female driver good enough to be in F1.

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