British driver Jamie Chadwick, the championship leader of the all-female W Series, has been named development driver for the Williams Formula One team.
Chadwick, 21, is highly rated after numerous successes in her junior career — she became the first female to win a British Formula 3 race last year and also claimed the 2015 British GT4 Title. She won the inaugural W Series race at Hockenheim at the start of May and finished second last weekend at Zolder. She claimed pole position on both occasions.
Chadwick will attend three European Formula One races with Williams this year, starting with July’s British Grand Prix. Her role will include her being fully immersed into the team both trackside and at its UK factory in Grove, where she will work extensively in the team’s simulator.
Williams boss Claire Williams, the only female to lead the day-to-day operation of an F1 team, believes Chadwick can play an important role in the future of motor racing.
“Promoting women in motorsport is extremely important and having a female role model as part of our Driver Academy will hopefully inspire young girls to take up racing at a young age,” she said. “We hope to show that motorsport is inclusive and exciting, be that as a driver or on the engineering side. Jamie is a great talent and I look forward to working with her.”
Chadwick said: “It is a great honour to be joining the Williams Racing Driver Academy. The time in the simulator is a fantastic opportunity to aid with my development. I look forward to spending time in the factory at Grove, immersing myself within the team and assisting wherever I can. Being a part of the Driver Academy is an amazing platform and I’m excited to get started.”
A woman has not contested a Formula One race since Lella Lombardi at the 1976 Austrian Grand Prix. The last female driver to take part in an F1 weekend was Susie Wolff, who took part in three practice sessions with the Williams team between 2014 and 2015.