For over 30 years, only two women have participated in a Grand Prix weekend. Italian Giovanna Amati's three attempts to qualify an ill-handling Brabham failed to bear fruit, whilst Susie Wolff’s two Free Practice appearances for Williams earned praise but failed to land her a spot on the Formula 1 grid.
In 2019 an all-woman series was formed to end that drought. Named the W Series, it was designed to give women racing drivers a chance to compete at the highest level for nothing, and with a place on the DTM support bill, the drivers would be tested on circuits such as the Norisring and Hockenheim.
During that inaugural season, one driver stood out amongst the crowd, and that was Britain’s Jamie Chadwick, who held off the challenge of Dutch racer Beitske Visser to become the series’s maiden champion, with Chadwick being signed mid-season to become a development driver for Williams.
Two years later, Chadwick clinched her second series title and whilst many had expected her to move up, she stayed in the W Series for another year; and at the time of writing, Chadwick leads the championship after taking victory in the Miami double-header and Spain.
But despite her two series titles, one thing has eluded Chadwick, and this is a victory on home soil, which she hopes to rectify when speaking to MotorLAT before the British Grand Prix meeting.
“I said earlier that last year was the one that got away, but I don’t think it was as I was definitely wasn’t quick enough to win last year! So more, I feel that it is unfinished business as this was the one (race) that I was most frustrated by last year's race wise so yeah, it’s obviously nice to be back and have another bite at it, and hopefully, we can have another good weekend."
“I am open to rain if I am honest; we’ve gone well in the wet previously, and I think we're a bit more used to it because of where we come from. I imagine that there will be at least one session that might have a bit of rain in it.”
This year W Series will visit Suzuka and Mexico for the first time, with the series also making trips to the Hungaroring and Paul Ricard at the end of July.
With very few junior championships having rounds outside of Europe, Chadwick is looking forward to the challenge of learning and then racing on these iconic circuits.
“A lot of simulator work in terms of preparation but yeah, on that note, it’s really great to be able to learn some of these circuits. Outside of Formula 1, a lot of these European single-seater championships don’t go to any of these tracks, so really looking forward to having the opportunity to learn them but to also actually get out there and race them.”