F1 MUST learn from Jamie Chadwick’s career trajectory (2024)

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  • F1 MUST learn from Jamie Chadwick’s career trajectory (8)
F1 MUST learn from Jamie Chadwick’s career trajectory (9)

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Jamie Chadwick is one of the most successful female racing drivers of her generation - but it has become increasingly unlikely she will ever reach Formula 1.

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Despite securing a historic Indy NXT win, the first woman to do so, Chadwick’s career should have progressed significantly further by now.

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The 26-year-old originally targeted a seat in F3, but has missed out on 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 F3 Championship (now GB3).

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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 ended prematurely in 2022, going into administration the following year.

The series was free to race in, eliminating the financial burden for Chadwick whilst she gained crucial experience in single seaters.

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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: Sky pundit hints at Mercedes boss EGO over F1 driver decision

Why didn’t Chadwick move to F3?

F1 MUST learn from Jamie Chadwick’s career trajectory (16)

After her second W Series title, Chadwick was poised to join F3 in 2022, however failed to acquire a drive - despite the $1 million (£736,000) prize money from her championship victories.

Speaking to MotorSport, Chadwick said: "The next step is still four times the budget I have. It’s still not the easiest so we haven’t been able to confirm a programme just yet."

Bruno Michel, F2 and F3 boss, revealed 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.

“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?

F1 MUST learn from Jamie Chadwick’s career trajectory (17)

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?

Academies offer drivers the chance to develop their skills and understanding of F1 machinery, sometimes providing financial support for their junior career.

Whilst the level of Williams’ involvement in helping Chadwick secure a seat in F2/3 is unknown, they have undoubtedly aided her career in her role as a development driver.

Is Andretti key to Chadwick’s F1 future?

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F1 MUST learn from Jamie Chadwick’s career trajectory (18)

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.

Chadwick will be 30-years of age by 2028, too old to be the future of a team but still lacking F1 experience.

What can F1 learn from Chadwick?

Chadwick’s career demonstrates the consequences of when F1 fails to support talented female drivers, stalling her career just as it was taking 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.

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F1 MUST learn from Jamie Chadwick’s career trajectory (21)

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F1 MUST learn from Jamie Chadwick’s career trajectory (80)

F1 MUST learn from Jamie Chadwick’s career trajectory (81)

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F1 MUST learn from Jamie Chadwick’s career trajectory (2024)


How do F1 drivers start their career? ›

The greatest Formula 1 drivers all started their careers at a young age; normally around 6 or 7 years old. Drivers often start in Kart Racing or Karting. As a kart racer you can either drive your own kart independently or a team's kart.

How old was Max Verstappen when he started F1? ›

After three FP1 appearances in 2014 and a short winter testing programme, Max made his Grand Prix debut at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix, aged 17 years and 166 days – the youngest driver in the history of the sport.

How to become a F1 driver without karting? ›

Is it possible to skip kart racing? Not really. When driving a real F1 car for the first time, you need to have basic racing skills and some measure of experience, which is what the kart racing provides.

Do you need to be rich to get into F1? ›

Although there are several sponsorships and scholarship schemes available to help young drivers with talent, the vast majority of drivers who make it to Formula One come from well-off families.

How do F1 drivers learn? ›

In order to ensure that they are always at their best, F1 drivers practice for countless hours in order to post the best times possible. It's this dedication to training and continuous practice that makes F1 drivers able stay sharp even when driving at 300kph and enduring excessive amounts of g-force.

How do F1 drivers know when to start? ›

It is down to the reaction time of the driver. The goal of the driver is to have the best reaction time to the lights going out relative to the drivers around him. F1 drivers particularly, do a lot of work on this. There are various training programs to help drivers sharpen their reaction times.

Who was the youngest F1 driver ever? ›

The youngest driver ever in F1 was Max Verstappen in 2015 at 17 years of age. Currently, McLaren driver Oscar Piastri is the youngest driver on the F1 grid at 23 years of age.

Has Max Verstappen had a baby? ›

Does Max Verstappen have children? Max has no biological children, but he does have a close relationship with Kelly's daughter Penelope. Kelly shares the four-year-old with her ex-partner, Russian driver Daniil Kvyat – who Max replaced at Red Bull in 2016 shortly after the season began.

Did Max win his first race? ›

F1's youngest points scorer soon became its youngest race winner – at the age of 18 years and 228 days – with an opportunistic but controlled drive on debut for Red Bull in Barcelona 2016.

At what age do F1 drivers retire? ›

The age at which Formula 1 drivers retire can vary greatly depending on individual circ*mstances, performance, and personal choices. Some drivers retire relatively young in their late 30s or early 40s, while others continue racing into their late 40s or even early 50s.

How rich is Max Verstappen? ›

With bonuses and endorsem*nts factored in, Verstappen's net worth soared to approximately $165.5 million. According to Forbes, his annual contract with Red Bull alone amounts to a staggering $43 million. But despite Verstappen's immense wealth, he's not the richest F1 driver in history.

How to join F1 as a woman? ›

Introducing F1 ACADEMY

F1 ACADEMY is a female-only category designed to increase female participation in the sport, both on and off the track! The aim is to provide young talent in junior categories the on-track experience needed to progress to higher levels of competition and join the Road to F1.

Who is the richest F1 driver? ›

Lewis Hamilton enjoyed the largest salary on the current grid for much of the last decade. The seven-time world champion is still just ahead of Max Verstappen on the list of Forbes' highest-paid athletes, but only due to his off-track revenue and sponsorship deals.

Can a poor person become an F1 driver? ›

F1 drivers need money

From every level through karting up to Formula 1, the costs will be steep, and only become more expensive as they go through the categories. Those who are lucky enough to own a kart to begin with will need to have enough money to address mechanical issues, to enter races and much more.

Did Charles Leclerc grow up rich? ›

For the 81st time in the sport's history, the iconic streets of Monaco will host the Monaco Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc is the only Monégasque on the grid and will be enjoying his sixth home race since joining F1 back in 2018. Charles Leclerc did not grow up in a particularly wealthy family by Monaco's standards.

Is it hard to get a job in F1? ›

It's highly competitive, and demands not just passion but a clear plan.

At what age do F1 drivers start driving? ›

Firstly, drivers must be the holder of a current FIA International Grade A licence, be the holder of a valid driving licence and be at least 18 years old at the start of their first F1 competition.

How can I get a career in F1? ›

No driver starts their career in F1 racing. In most cases, getting to Formula 1 requires years of climbing the racing ladder. After conquering the karting circuit, you can graduate to more competitive formulas. You may start with an entry-level class of single-seater races.

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