Williams has signed 21-year-old Jamie Chadwick to the team's driver academy where she will take on the role of development driver
With championships in British GT4 and the MRF Challenge series, a win in British F3 and as current championship leader of the inaugural season of W Series, Chadwick - who is also a factory driver for Aston Martin - is laced with potential, something Williams has decided to try and nurture.
In her role as development driver with the team, Chadwick will carry out simulator work as well as working with the team at select grands prix this year, both trackside and behind the scenes. It’s a huge moment in the career of any young driver to be associated with an F1 team - 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.”
Claire Williams hailed Chadwick’s “great talent” as well as emphasising the importance of promoting the idea of women in motorsport:
“I am delighted to confirm that Jamie Chadwick has joined the Williams Racing Driver Academy in the role of Development Driver. I have had the pleasure of watching Jamie race first hand in Hockenheim where she claimed victory at the season opening W Series race. Alongside her on-track commitments, Jamie will undertake simulator work for Williams, be immersed both trackside and at the factory with the team and will participate in marketing activities.
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. 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 has long been tipped as a favourite to win the W Series title this year and, with two races done, that’s still the case. She won from pole in Hockenheim and took pole again in Zolder, although Beitske Visser won the race and Alice Powell proved a constant threat, proving that Chadwick isn’t going to have everything her own way.
However, the prize money from a strong finish in the championship along with the backing of an F1 team could certainly open doors elsewhere on the single-seater ladder - something Chadwick looks on course to achieve. Is this the first sign that the W Series is doing what it set out to do?