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

FIA Formula 3 boss disappointed W Series champion didn’t get drive

Formula 3

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Formula 3 boss Bruno Michel says it is a “pity” W Series champion Jamie Chadwick failed to get a seat for the 2022 season.

Michel, who also runs Formula 2, said it is a priority to ensure female drivers have access to their championships.

“This is something that is completely key for us, completely key for the future,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “We have plans to try to help female drivers to come into our championship.

“We just want to make sure that when they come into F2 and F3 – because that’s the first championship that we’re promoting – they have to be ready. Because if they come just to make [up] the numbers, just to say we have female drivers in the championship, not only it’s not going to work, but it’s not going to serve the purpose of trying to show that female drivers can at this level win races because that’s really what we want to show.”

F3 is working with W Series chief Catherine Bond Muir and the president of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission, Deborah Mayer, to diversify the series’ all-male roster.

“They both have a programme that we want to try to work with,” Michel said. “We’ve already done, last year, testing for two female drivers from W Series and two female drivers from the Ferrari programme and we are going to follow up on that. We want to organise another test this year, but we want to do more because testing is not just enough. So that’s something we’re working on at the moment.”

Two-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick announced earlier this year she had failed to secure the F3 seat she had been hoping and would return to the all-female junior series for a second title defence.

Michel said he did not know why Chadwick had been unable to get a 2022 seat in F3. “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.

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

Nevetheless, Michel said, “we absolutely need to prepare young female drivers to get to the level of Formula 3 with success and with success it means that we need to be sure that when they come there, at least they can qualify in the top 12 because then everything is changed, that’s the beauty of this format.”

Formula 3’s partially-reversed-grid format means that the 12th-place qualifying driver starts the first race of a weekend on pole.

Michel emphasised that female drivers coming to the series would need to prove they could secure results. “If it’s to be at the back of the grid it will be counterproductive because we will have many people saying, ‘look,’ which is exactly what we don’t want.

“We very strongly believe that there’s absolutely zero reason that a female driver cannot achieve the same result as a male driver, but it’s a question of preparation.”

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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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52 comments on “FIA Formula 3 boss disappointed W Series champion didn’t get drive”

  1. It’s a pity she’s too old and was never good enough. For Formula 3.

    1. The age is absolute (though not a complete obstacle)… but her resume is quite explicit and includes clearly beating a series of male drivers that not only were deemed good enough for F3 but even drove in F1, so something else is going on there.

      1. Nonsense. The only open wheel non-women’s championship she ever won was the MRF Challenge. And it was some 5th grade racing level. Even worse than W Series…

      2. Her resume is a mixed bag if you care to take in the overall picture and not just hand-pick the details that make her look better. Check her page on Wikipedia and go through her racing record for the last five years. Based on that I’d say she’s a decent if mediocre driver. And looking through all the result I can’t find anything to back up your claim of “clearly beating a series of male drivers that […] drove in F1”. As much as I’d love to see a female driver climb the ladder to F1 and do it well, I find it hard to believe that Chadwick should be the one to do that.

        Is she good enough for F3, though? She might be, but I’m really curious about the quote in the article above: “There were teams that were ready to take her.” If true that means she actually had options to get in. It’s tempting to jump to conclusions – especially considering she’s been talking about the difficulty getting into top teams without significant financial backing – but I honestly don’t have enough solid info to back either.

      3. Which F1 drivers and in which championship/year did she beat them?

  2. Why not take a 5% cut from each driver salary/team budget to fund a woman driver?
    Make it 10% and you fund 2.
    Other than that, it is kind of pointless effort. The push for a woman driver was based in equity and a unaddressed sponsor pool.
    If this unaddress sponsorship pool didnt materialize, then only if a women is 2 sec faster than guys in the junior series.

    1. Steal part of the other drivers salary? A somewhat communist approach…

      1. Our salary…

      2. RocketTankski
        13th April 2022, 19:26

        All drivers are equal. But some drivers are more equal than others.

    2. *Note to website staff, the submission to report this comment was entirely accidental.*

      Why should the teams & drivers exactly be financially penalised in order to give others who really wouldn’t be there on merit further undeserved preferential treatment?

      Those drivers and teams that are there go to the required lengths to be able to finance their presence, why should they also be expected to finance others just so they can have it easier?

      1. Because if the main cause for not having a woman in the grid is not perfomance but the lack of opportunity, and if the commitiment to solve this imbalance is real thru the grid, a 5% contribution seems reasonable.
        Somehow is what they are already doing by funding Wseries.

        1. “or not having a woman in the grid is not perfomance but the lack of opportunity”

          What exactly is that based on exactly? In recent years we’ve had Chadwick who wasn’t deserving of her FREC drive based on results, Floersch not deserving of her F3 drive based on results and Calderon not deserving of her F2 based on results. Aston Martin themselves created a role for Jess Hawkins that can only be justified by cronyism now that Matt Bishop has a role within the team. You cannot argue that her recruitment in based on merit.

          Contrary to your claims, the recents years has seen female drivers receiving superior opportunities to what they deserve. The “imbalance” you refer to is entirely a naive delusion, based not any form of rational thinking. We have seen Susie Wolff get a test drive because she was married to a (former) shareholder in the team and Carmen Jorda getting a test drive because she was attractive.

          No one, and I mean NO ONE, this applies to all drivers, deserves or is owed a single penny/euro/peso of another person’s money to pay for their passtimes. If you can’t afford it, you aren’t owed it. If you can’t provide the results in the lower formulae to get sponsors to say “wow, this driver is worth spending out own money to pay for their hobby” then you are not a victim, you are just not very good!

          The imbalance in this case is eclusively how much poor drivers are favoured simply because they are female compared to how an equally (not so) capable driver would be treated.

          1. OK, so what would be your suggestion to increasing female involvement in motorsport? The world is roughly 50/50 male to female yet the balance in F1 has been 100/0 for a very long time. Something needs to change. There’s nothing inherent in female physiology that excludes them from competing with males at the same level. The key difference I see is girls being told either actively or passively that cars and racing are for boys/men. The barrier this creates for women to get into motorsport is extraordinary. It all starts with representation which at the moment is quite literally zero at the top flight. If that means giving a few talented female drivers a bit of a leg up, so be it. Hopefully long term those measures won’t be needed.

          2. @tommy-c

            It all starts with representation

            I think it’s a fallacy to claim that supporting drivers that are out of their depth, talent-wise, and putting them in seats they are not qualified for is going to catalyse parents of young girls to give motorsport a go.

            I’d rather see resources put into offering as many 4-7yos a chance at trying themselves out in a kart and see if they like it. And then support the families to allow that amber to grow to the point where they compete and can show their talent. (or lack thereof)

          3. @tommy-c

            The key difference I see is girls being told either actively or passively that cars and racing are for boys/men.

            I don’t know. Are they told that? Are they just not into it due to whatever reason?
            I have two girls. Love them to bits. They see my passion for motorsports, they are offered insights when they ask for it, they’ve watched some races with me. Ultimately though, they don’t express any interest further than “who won today?”.
            My 4-years-old nephew though, has everything cars-related you could imagine.

            I’m not nurturing my daughters to pursue typical girl-things and to ignore cars and motorsport. They just do.

            Better representation might help. But putting women in places they would be out of their depth in, would that be healthy? Boost the most talented woman racing driver up into F1, have her being beaten by a huge margin by her teammate (and/or the rest of the field), would that be a positive thing? We would have representation, but what kind of representation? And what message would that send over? “See that’s the best woman racing driver in the world, she’s dead last, we can do no better”. I don’t have the answer, but it could be worse than having no representation at all.

    3. So take some off Ocon, etc who has struggled though the ranks financially, and give it to a daughter of a mega rich father and mother who has the best of everything through her career and still struggled to deliver at any meaningful level.

  3. Just because she doesn’t have the skills to get there?

  4. She is as good as 4 current F1 drivers so give her a test.

    1. Ok I’ll bite. Which ones?

      1. Stroll, Latifi, Tsunoda, Guanyu

        1. Either that’s a good joke, or a testament of the fact lots of people are terrible in assessing feeder series records.

          All of those drivers have proven a lot more in a lot higher series than Chadwick has.

          Stroll was a karting prodigy, won F4 series, won European F3. As a best comparison to that, Chadwick was midfield in two years of British F3 and was ninth in FREC while her 3 Prema teammates finished first, second and third.

          Sure she won the MRF series – against a very low quality field. Asian F3? Lost out to Mazepin, who we all think does not belong in F1.

          Tsunoda? Third as a rookie in F2 ranks higher than anything Chadwick has done.

          Zhou? His record in F2 ranks higher than what Chadwick has proven so far, and like Chadwick he has done F3 Asia. But he actually won it.

          Latifi? Maybe, but at least he’s won races and been runner-up in F2 which, again, outranks anything Chadwick has done.

          So there’s that. There is zero basis to objectively state that Chadwick is better than even Latifi (let alone the rest) and most people would say Latifi doesn’t really belong in F1.

          Let her prove herself in FIA F3 and F2 before we go around saying she’s better than some F1 drivers, shall we? Especially when she has been decidedly midfield in series where there was a somewhat decent level of competition.

          1. @mattds The comparison with Mazepin does not work because Mazepin had already had 3 seasons of F3, 1 season of GP3 and 1 season of GP2 behind him when he took part in F3 Asia. Chadwick had none of these.

            Latifi comparison is also flawed because he needed 5 seasons of F2 to be a distant runner up in a depleted field. Once again Chadwick has not had much opportunity to show her prowess except for the one season in FRECA, which also somehow proved us that Oliver Rasmussen is as good a driver as Arthur Leclerc. The series did not have its best year that year suffice it to day because of all the last minute changes due to covid and all the different amounts of testing the drivers got.

            Give her a chance I say. If Amaury Cordeel, Mahaveer Raghunathan and Alessio Deledda can get F2 opportunities, the least Chadwick deserves is an F3 drive.

          2. @wsrgo I am all for giving her a chance in F3, and fully agree that lesser drivers have been given chances (or at least bought their way) in(to) higher series, but the statement at this point that she “is” better than 4 current F1 drivers is just baseless.

            The points you raise against the comparison with Mazepin and Latifi are valid to a certain degree, but in the end some simple facts remain. One is that generally they are not regarded as drivers that should be in F1 (so where does that leave Chadwick…). Another one is that even Mazepin and Latifi (even if he took multiple seasons) have done those things that Chadwick hasn’t, or at least not yet. A third one is that unquestionably Stroll and Tsunoda (who were also named) have undoubtedly shown more promise in their feeder series seasons. And a fourth one is that Chadwick has been decidedly midfield in relatively competitive fields, or been top in very low-quality fields (with all due respect, but that’s just how it is), so there is no proof or base for the aforementioned statement).

            I mean I don’t think we even have one F1 driver that is seen as deserving of F1 who was for two years in a national F4 or F3 series and didn’t come any further than midfield.

            As for Arthur Leclerc: I don’t think he is anywhere near as good as his brother. Also, one year doesn’t make or break a career, it’s the general, overall picture that counts.

            But yes, absolutely, let’s see her have a go in F3, she should get at least that chance. Thing is it seems she did have options for F3, so the question remains why she didn’t go for one of them in the first place.

  5. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    13th April 2022, 18:52

    Any F1-team would jump at the chance of signing a good-enough female driver, simply because it’s PR and marketing gold. The reason there’s no woman in F1, is because they don’t have enough superlisense points and/or are simply not good enough in lower classes. The W-series does nothing to fix that.

    Chadwick has gotten quite a lot of money from her 2 titles and doesn’t exactly come from a background that has limited funds. If with all that you still can’t buy your way into F3 and make an impression in there, then you have no business being in F2 or F1 either.

    She saw what Calderon tried to do and didn’t want to go down that same path, but instead pretends that she can’t get a good enough drive. She knows she won’t impress enough when going up against some real talents.

    1. When the initial drivers were announced I’m sure J C was among the. What I couldn’t understand was the fact that quicker drivers were left out & slower ones were chosen. I will stand correcting but think JC has won W series before maybe twice. Surely to progress if that good why would she not be in an advanced class? Seems like a dead end to me.

  6. If the FIA were serious they would allocate a free single car entry to w-series and the w series provide a team to run it. The prize for winning w series is the seat. The cost to w series in prize money is running a single car entry instead of the (clearly not enough) €1m or whatever it is.

    1. If the FIA were serious they would allocate a free single car F3 entry to w-series…..

      1. Why on earth would they allocate something for free? W Series isn’t even an FIA officiated series, so even less reason for them to do it.

        It’s funny how the most vocal who expect something to be done to ‘make things equal’ demand that certain people are given far beyond what the rest receive in the name of equality, things that they not deserving of and considerably more than a “privileged” driver of the same level and ability would receive.

        All it would result in is a W Series ran car being F3 versions of HRT, Virgin/Marussia & Lotus/Caterham, ie entrants that were so slow and off the pace they are really not worthy of their place on the grid.

        1. Sometimes, where inequality exists, the hurdles that some groups face are so great that too make things equal they need a significant advantage to neutralise them.

          It’s not complex.

          1. A good enough female driver would already have a huge advantage over an equivalent male driver, the female products sponsors would be lining up to fund her. They certainly don’t need handouts!

          2. There is zero proof this supposed inequality exists. The requirement to get results and to have sponsors to pay the bills is the same for all.

            If you can’t pay, you can’t play.

          3. Sometimes, where inequality exists, the hurdles that some groups face are so great that too make things equal they need a significant advantage to neutralise them.
            It’s not complex.

            So you ok promoting ugly people to do commercials and presenting the news in TV?

  7. Maybe it’s because she’s so bad? See her performance in F-Regional in 2020, even running with the very strong Prema, she was almost 300 points behind her teammates, who were rookies like her.

  8. The reason she isn’t there is because whoever backs her either didn’t want to pay for a seat, or couldn’t afford a seat.

    The ‘couldn’t afford’ option would be surprising, as I’d have thought she had more sponsor appeal than anyone else at that level… and while I’m not fully informed on various net worths, I doubt the combined wealth of the family couldn’t squeeze out enough for one season of F3.

    So I’m assuming it was a deliberate decision.

  9. playstation361
    13th April 2022, 23:40

    Where there is a will there is a way.

  10. We’ll careful what you wish for. This series was just started, giving it time to have some drivers move through the system and legitimize the series is a good thing before someone actually graduates to F3. The first woman that does get to F3 from W series needs to actually belong there. If they shove someone into a seat just to make a headline they’ll destroy the credibility of the W series immediately. These things take time to build.

  11. The problem is W Series is not a very high level group of drivers. And as such, being at the top of that championship isn’t really that valuable for team bosses, I’d imagine, over drivers that win in more competitive junior fields. The fact W Series is seen as below F3, rather than on its level, is an indication of this as well. This wouldn’t be a problem if W Series was seen as a different thing but on the same level as F2 or even F1 and taken seriously in that vein. Not as a step up to other competitions, but as the top of women’s competition. Take women’s football for example. There’s women teams from established clubs like FC Barcelona, ManU, PSG, Bayern, etc. Wouldn’t it be impressive to have a F1 Women’s Series with Merc, Ferrari, RBR, etc. fielding women drivers in the fastest cars?

    Either do a serious women’s competition, or as an alternative I still think Brundle’s initial response to the W Series announcement was the right one, if the goal is to advance women drivers into competition. They should have used that money to make a F2 (or F3) team that’s all-women. Two women drivers, women engineers and teamboss, etc. Being competitive in that field would’ve given much better opportunities all around for advancement, rather than going off and doing a separate thing.

    1. Why do you say they are not a high level group of drivers? Oh, because they are female and haven’t got to drive in rich teams in juniors series.

      1. No, because objectively speaking that’s just what it is. First of all they’ve had to go to quite some lengths to constitute a full driver field – if you look into all driver’s histories then you would see that.
        Secondly, Chadwick’s stiffest competition have been Visser and Powell in year 1 and 2. Both have elaborate single seater records.
        Visser went as high as FR3.5, but was highly out of her depth in that series, and ended her single seater career after that.
        Powell went as high as GP3, where she also didn’t quite cut it.

        If these drivers, after a lengthy gap in single seater racing, come back and immediately are at the front, then that gives some insight in the overall quality of the field. Being female has nothing to do with that. Also not having driven for “rich teams” has anything to do with that, as in the series I mentioned these drivers have been beaten pretty soundly by their teammates.

      2. It’s a shame we can’t have a serious discussion on how to advance women’s opportunities in a male dominated sport without resorting to this kind of discourse. I proposed a couple of viable and serious alternatives to running a lower class series to help women in all levels of motorsport break into the top echelon’s of it since W Series has failed to produce said opportunities and all you managed to get out of it was “you must dislike them because they’re women.”

        1. All levels, should be all aspects*

  12. Does it really matter if she’s at the back of the grid? As long as she’s not a long way off, it’s the representation that matters for the time being. No one questions the ability of backmarkers based on their gender so it shouldn’t be any different. Perhaps the W Series could find some kind of agreement that the champion secures 2 years in F3 as a reward and obviously they’d stay on if they prove their worth and a team wants to hold onto them.

    1. I’m sure it matters to the teams who will want their drivers to provide good results, not languishing at the back merely existing.

      W Series lacks drivers good enough to be able to boost one into F3, in reality they’re not even strong enough drivers to come to the same arrangement with FREC.

      W Series has failed and was always going to fail in it’s goals. When you intentionally limit yourself to what is likely going to be the bottom end of the driver market, they you aren’t going to be able to boost drivers above your own station.

      1. Wonder what would happen with a 10 women and 10 men series, would there be a men domination or would some women beat some men?

        1. @esploratore1 it largely depends on how that series driver field would be composed. Chadwick has beaten some of her peers, so you could select male drivers who definitely aren’t as strong.
          However, it would also be very much possible to make a selection of the 10 best female drivers, and select 10 male drivers who are better. In that case there would be a serious domination by the men.

          If you took a completely random selection of all F3 level drivers, and made sure Chadwick was in there, I’m sure she would beat a few men.

  13. Quite a few misogynistic comments in this thread. The sane commentatord would write nothing about an accomplished make driver missing out on F3. I hope they never have daughters.

    1. There’s nothing like the prospect of a woman racing driver to bring the frothing gnomes out from under their rocks.

    2. Having gone through this thread, I don’t see misogynistic comments. I see some people that are able to correctly assess a junior driver’s record, and some people that aren’t.

      Bruno Michel states:

      There were teams that were ready to take her.

      So going by that my conclusion is that if she isn’t there, then that’s by choice. Maybe she didn’t get an offer from one of the top teams, but then again, is that the attitude to have? Either the best team or nothing? What if your performances do not warrant to get a free seat at one of the top teams? Shouldn’t those best seats, by merit, go to young drivers that have shown exceptional talent in lower series, that have won competitive series that weren’t closed for the biggest group of drivers?

      I have daughters. I love them to bits. They are taught that they can pursue whatever they want, that they can accomplish as much as men, but also that they will have to work hard for it and that nothing comes for free.

      1. I would say she should’ve taken a backmarker f3 seat if offered, then if she’s good enough she could progress to a better team.

        1. It’s probably better for her personal brand to finish her career an X-time W Series Champion.

  14. Tokenism at its finest. If she was good enough, she would already be in F1. F1 teams would never turn down all the great publicity there would be if they had a female driver (that was good enough to drive in F1) Williams came very close a few years back with Suzie, but again, she was evaluated, and deemed not quite good enough. Its not like Jamie has come out of nowhere, she has gone through the lower categories. Its like saying the LA Lakers should place one of the WNBA players in their starting line up for the men’s team. The world is going mad.

    You should only get into elite level sports if you are an elite level performer. end of

  15. Chadwick is not going to make it in F3 or F2 at this age and experience, but it would have been nice to see her at least try.

    Watching for someone who like Juju Noda who is MUCH younger and may actually have the pedigree to advance to F3 while still in her teens and do well, which is only way to get to F1 properly. Yes she will be well funded but it will be worthwhile. Please keep an eye on her this year in W Series.

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