Jamie Chadwick insists she will take her time chasing a potential seat in Formula 1, despite seeing her profile raised by W Series success and an ongoing role at Williams.
It was announced on Thursday that the 2020 W Series champion will earn 15 Super License points, meaning the champion cannot remain in the series for the following season from this year onwards. Chadwick — who won last year’s title — is targeting a season racing in Japan alongside her W Series return this year rather than a European route, and says she wants to prepare properly for any future opportunity in F1.
“I think (a springboard) is what the series is and will be,” Chadwick told RACER. “It came under a little bit of fire when I said that I was doing it again, but the difficulty is 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.
“There’s probably one team you want to be with, that team’s double the price 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.”
Chadwick has been confirmed as a member of the Williams driver academy again this season but has yet to test F1 machinery, and admits she expects it will take more time before she will feel ready for an F1 seat.
“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.
“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.
“But 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.”
Chadwick’s Williams team became the ninth to confirm its 2020 F1 car launch date, revealing the FW43 via a digital-only launch on February 17, leaving only Red Bull to announce its plans.