W-series championship leader Jamie Chadwick has joined the Williams F1 team as development driver.

Britain’s Chadwick who in 2015 became the first ever female winner of the British GT Championship and the first to win a British F3 championship race in 2018 arrives at Williams after two successful outings in the newly formed W-series in which she’s scored a win and a second place.

21-year-old Chadwick’s involvement with Williams will include simulator work for the team along with her immersion into the team both at their factory in Grove and at a handful of Grand Prix, where she will perform a number of media and marketing duties.

At this stage Chadwick will not get any time in Williams Grand Prix car, the 2019 FW42 – that remains the role of its two race drivers George Russell and Robert Kubica, and reserve driver Nicholas Latifi who gets six outings in Friday practice in 2019.

“It is a great honour to be joining the Williams Racing Driver Academy” Chadwick commented.

“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.”

Chadwick’s promotion via the exposure the W-series has given her is a fillip for a championship that many people decried as being a hindrance to the female racing driver cause rather than something that can drive it forward.

It is no coincidence that the leader of that series, and the driver who it would appear, two races in, to be among the class of the field has been recruited by a Formula 1 team despite the championship being far from decided.

Would Chadwick’s career have been fast-tracked in quite the way it has without the W-series?

You might argue that Williams have drafted Chadwick because of her marketability rather than for her proven racing ability, but isn’t that a key component of any successful racing driver’s skillset these days?

And there’s no arguing that she wouldn’t be quite as marketable if it weren’t for the exposure the W-series has given her.

So good luck Jamie, and welcome to the Williams F1 family! I hope your Williams Grand Prix career is a long and successful one, and that you become the first female Formula 1 Grand Prix driver of your generation.

Wouldn’t that be something?


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