Williams junior Jamie Chadwick says female drivers looking for “commercial support” for racing have more opportunities in the United States than in Europe.
The two-time W-Series champion is currently in her fifth season at regional formula level and could win a third W-Series crown this weekend. After a Formula 3 seat slipped through her fingers this year, she weighed options to race elsewhere to move up the single-seater ladder.
Having previously rated the F3-level Euroformula Championship, Chadwick is now looking to America and recently completed an Indy Lights test with Andretti Autosport. RaceFans asked her about options she could pursue in the series versus the challenge of climbing the European single-seater ranks.
“I think the commercial support there clearly makes sense,” she replied. “There are a lot of female drivers who have had opportunities and paid opportunities there, which is fantastic.
“Ironically, IndyCar seems to be one of the most physical series around. [Going] from Indy Lights to IndyCar seems to be really hard on the steering. So that’s interesting, but that’s actually where the most opportunities are for some women.
“But from my side, I definitely see it as a really positive thing. I see there are opportunities. I see there are big brands, big teams taking these female drivers and giving them these opportunities. “, which is fantastic. But at the same time, of course, I still want to make F1 possible.”
W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir agreed that “there is potentially greater openness to support female athletes in the United States than there is currently” in Europe. His championship concluded its 2021 season on the United States Grand Prix support bill, opened its current season in Miami and will race again at the Circuit of the Americas this year.
Women’s races in America
Over the past decade, several women, who have competed in junior championships in North America or Europe, have competed in the first open-wheel American IndyCar series.
In eight Indianapolis 500 starts, Patrick has an impressive record of starting and finishing fourth in his debut, then being a top-ten qualifier four more times. Her third-place finish in the 2009 edition of the race was one of seven IndyCar podiums she racked up, all but one on ovals. The three pole positions she won, all in her rookie season, were also all on ovals.
Most of her IndyCar career was over a decade ago, including her historic victory in the 2008 Indy Japan 300 race at Twin Ring Motegi, but she competed in the 2018 Indy 500. outside of basketball, she has been one of the most recognizable. names and faces in American sport since the start of her IndyCar career, making her a powerful example of the interest a successful racing driver can generate in F1.
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Simone de Silvestro
Currently a test driver for Porsche’s Formula E team, from Silverstone was given the nickname “Iron Maiden” while racing in the United States due to his return from a fiery crash in 2010.
The Swiss often won the Atlantics series rival Indy Lights in the late 2000s, and his IndyCar career initially encompassed four full seasons that culminated with a first podium finish and 13th place in the points in 2013.
Pursuing an ultimately thankless Formula 1 testing deal with Sauber for 2014 took her out of America, and for 2015 she moved to Formula E and starred again in a brief return to IndyCar. She is now back on the grid more frequently with the Paretta Autosport team. Alongside Tatiana Calderon, she is one of two women who have raced in IndyCar this year.
Beatriz was capable of winning in Indy Lights, finishing third in points as a rookie as well, but her IndyCar career fell short. In 29 starts over four years, she has finished no higher than 11th. Like Patrick, she was more suited to the Indy cars of old.
Mann rose through the ranks of European single-seaters and progressed to Formula Renault 3.5, a series just below F1 at the time. She then moved on to Indy Lights, winning two races and taking three poles over two seasons before finding the budget over the next few years to make one-off IndyCar appearances with smaller teams. She has participated in the Indy 500 eight times.
Remarkable determination got Legge into American racing and she capitalized on it by winning her Atlantic debut and finishing fourth in the championship in 2005. A year later she was in Champ Car (before its merger with IndyCar ), and again performed well from the start, leading to Milwaukee.
After two years, she moved to DTM, then returned to IndyCar in 2012 with an uncompetitive Dragon Racing team, but still achieved a top-10 finish. Legge has found plenty of other racing opportunities in the United States and has been a mainstay of IMSA since 2014.
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