Jamie Chadwick doubts she would be ready to make the leap to Formula 1, despite her status as winner of the inaugural W Series.
F1’s latest hope for its first female race driver since 1976, the 21-year-old has suggested she needs more experience in the lower-categories of open-wheel motorsport before making the leap to the top flight.
“There is always like a bit of a road plan. The way I’ve looked at it is there’s sort of the typical career path that’s required to get to Formula 1 and so far my career has not gone in any sense of that direction at all! It’s gone left and right more than any other career. I don’t think there’s a fixed way to get there.” she told RACER.
“I know what I want to achieve; I want to be ready for Formula 1 if I get there, so even if Claire [Williams] turned around to me and said, ‘Right, we’ve got an extra seat, do you want it?’ I probably at this point would be very, very reluctant to take it because I don’t think I’m ready yet.”
Chadwick was introduced as a member of the Williams driver academy in 2019, a position she will keep for the coming season, alongside her race duties in W-Series and Japan.
Perhaps surprisingly, the Briton does not consider Formula 3 or Formula 2 as a necessary step on her progression, suggesting money plays too much of a factor in the success of its drivers.
“I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding around FIA F3 and FIA F2, and no one quite understands why I don’t just go and do a championship there. It doesn’t quite work like that,” she said.
“There’s probably one team you want to be with, that team’s double the price [to join] of any other team and it’s a bit of a mad world. So on my side it’s just picking the right opportunities and not rushing it. I know people think that you have to be in Formula 1 tomorrow but I don’t think I do. So I’ve got time and it’s about making the right choices in that time.
“I think for me it’s all about the right preparation, development process and ideally in the next couple of years there’s the time for me to be able to actually go and have a serious conversation about what might be available.”