W Series preview: Jamie Chadwick starts hat-trick bid, Caitlyn Jenner a ‘great addition’ as team owner



Women's racing driver Jamie Chadwick says the W Series is going from strength to strength, and that she is excited for the season ahead as it was announced that Sky Sports will the only broadcaster to show these races

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Women’s racing driver Jamie Chadwick says the W Series is going from strength to strength, and that she is excited for the season ahead as it was announced that Sky Sports will the only broadcaster to show these races

Women’s racing driver Jamie Chadwick says the W Series is going from strength to strength, and that she is excited for the season ahead as it was announced that Sky Sports will the only broadcaster to show these races

Jamie Chadwick believes she will have her toughest test yet in 2022 as the highly-rated British driver bids to continue her reign as W Series champion, with excitement building for a new season that kicks off this weekend live on Sky Sports F1.

The all-female W Series championship has grown exponentially since its introduction in 2019 and this year, all 10 rounds of the series are live on Sky Sports, starting this weekend with two races in Miami.

Sharing on-track duties with Formula 1 on the all-new Miami Gardens street circuit, qualifying takes place at 2pm on Saturday before Race One at 7.10pm, while Race Two is on Sunday at 3.20pm.

Eighteen talented drivers from all over the globe will be bidding for the title this year and identical F3 cars give them an equal chance to shine – although there is little doubt who has a target on their back for 2022.

Chadwick, the Williams development driver who enjoyed a dazzling junior career coming into W Series, has won both titles so far (2019 and ’21 with ’20 cancelled due to the pandemic) and is bidding for the hat-trick.

Sky Sports will broadcast all 10 races and every qualifying session from the 2022 W Series, starting next weekend in Miami

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Sky Sports will broadcast all 10 races and every qualifying session from the 2022 W Series, starting next weekend in Miami

Sky Sports will broadcast all 10 races and every qualifying session from the 2022 W Series, starting next weekend in Miami

She is, however, braced for a close battle this year – both from new drivers and her rivals from last year, fellow Brit Alice Powell and Finland’s Emma Kimilainen.

“I can imagine Alice and Emma will definitely be up there,” Chadwick tells Sky Sports. “But I would expect there to be a few new faces in the mix as well.

“Teams are getting more competitive and the drivers are getting more competitive so I think it’s going to be a closely fought season throughout and there will be more contenders this year.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen, I could DNF the first race and be in no contention…. but the ultimate goal is exactly the same. If I focus on myself, that can happen again.”

  • W Series is a free-to-enter motor racing championship for women which debuted in 2019, eliminating the financial barriers that historically prevented them from progressing to the upper tiers of motorsport.
  • All W Series’ cars and corresponding equipment are the same specification and managed by the series, ensuring that races and championships are won by the most talented drivers
  • W Series aims to create a pathway for women racing drivers, encouraging more girls into junior karting and more sponsors to support women racing drivers as they progress into the upper tiers of motorsport.
  • In 2022, W Series will race alongside Formula 1 at eight Grand Prix weekends. There will be 10 races in total over the season, starting with two in Miami.
  • The scoring system in races is the same as F1 (points for all top 10, 25 for winner, 18 for second etc). All races are around 30 minutes in length.
  • At the end of the season, a champion is crowned and she collects prize money as well as crucial Super Licence points to aid future motorsport opportunities

W Series: The Class of ’22 as Chadwick defends crown

W Series’ Class of ’22 includes five new drivers as the series takes another step in competitiveness, bringing in more drivers who have impressed in other categories against men, just as Chadwick has.

“I’m tantalised by the prospect of our new drivers,” says Catherine Bond Muir, W Series’ founder. “There’s Juju Noda who’s a very famous young driver and great hope for Japan, and also we’ve got the super-fast Bianca Bustamante from the Philippines and Chloe Chambers from the United States.

W Series driver line-up for 2022

Driver Team
Fabienne Wohlwend cortDAO
Marta Garcia cortDAO
Jamie Chadwick Jenner Racing
Chloe Chambers Jenner Racing
Belen Garcia Quantfury
Nerea Marti Quantfury
Alice Powell Click2Drive Bristol Street Motors
Jessica Hawkins Click2Drive Bristol Street Motors
Emma Kimilainen Puma
Tereza Babickova Puma
Abbi Pulling Racing X
Bruna Tomaselli Racing X
Beitske Visser Sirin Racing
Emily De Heus Sirin Racing
Sarah Moore Scuderia W
Abbie Eaton Scuderia W
Bianca Bustamante Academy
Juju Noda Academy

“Those three drivers, I’m not sure how quick they will be to begin with because there are a lot of drivers who have had two years’ experience driving our cars, but my prediction is those drivers are just going to get faster and faster throughout the season, and getting closer to the podium.

“There will also be the traditional fight between Jamie, Alice and Emma, so there will be two parallel stories of the old ones fighting it out like they’ve always done, then the new bucks coming underneath.”

Caitlyn Jenner ‘a great addition’ as team owner

Another new addition to 2022 is Caitlyn Jenner, with the former Olympic gold medal winner and transgender activist having founded her own team – Jenner Racing – who Chadwick will drive for.

Jenner, the media personality who is also a former professional racing driver, is passionate about women’s sport and has been heavily engaged since her W Series involvement was confirmed.

“I’ve been out to the States to visit her which is great, to get on a similar wavelength with her and understand what she wants for the team,” explains Chadwick. “It’s a whole new opportunity, very different to anything I’ve ever experienced before.

“Every team owner wants to win this year, she’s a former sportsperson so she understands the competition which is important, and going forwards she just wants to grow women’s sport. Using W Series as a platform to do that is great – she’s proactive in pushing that.”

W Series champion Jamie Chadwick speaks about her future and the prospect of working with Caitlyn Jenner and the Jenner Racing team

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W Series champion Jamie Chadwick speaks about her future and the prospect of working with Caitlyn Jenner and the Jenner Racing team

W Series champion Jamie Chadwick speaks about her future and the prospect of working with Caitlyn Jenner and the Jenner Racing team

Muir adds: “Caitlyn has two great passions in life now; promoting women and motorsport.

“I never had any idea she was a professional motor racing driver herself. She’s a great character and believes in the promotion of women so I think she’ll be a great addition to this year.”

A driver in F1? What is the ultimate W Series goal?

While W Series has proved a popular and much-needed series in the motorsport landscape, Muir is open to admitting that she wants to see drivers graduate and move on to compete against men in series such as F3 and F2. The ultimate goal, understandably, is seeing a female compete in F1 for the first time since 1992.

Chadwick may well have the best chance of doing that, having earned a place in the Williams Junior Academy as a simulator driver. But even despite her accolades, she couldn’t get on the F3 grid for 2022 due to the budget difficulties and so returned to W Series.

“I know she’s been well criticised for not going off to F3 and F2 but I think the fact that Jamie couldn’t get a seat in time for testing for F3 and F2 demonstrates how hard the sport is,” says Muir. “It’s incredibly hard for even the boys and the men, but it’s especially hard for the women.

“I feel like the mother to these drivers and you have mixed feelings when they leave, because it’s like seeing a child off to university. I do want her to go off to F3 or F2, but I’m delighted she’s having a Gap Year and spending it with me.

“I think she’ll make it, she just needed more time to plan.”

W Series race calendar in 2022

May 6-8 Miami* USA
May 20-22 Barcelona Spain
July 1-3 Silverstone UK
July 22-24 Le Castellet France
July 29-31 Budapest Hungary
October 7-9 Suzuka Japan
October 28-30 Mexico City* Mexico
*two races

Chadwick, rather than being dismayed, is grateful she has the W Series opportunity.

“There are a lot of male drivers who are jealous of the opportunity we have,” she insists.

“For sure, without it, I wouldn’t be racing. To have this opportunity to continue racing on such a high level on the Formula 1 package, to generate the profile the series has given me, to be able to go on to a team like Williams, are definitely things I would never have expected ahead of the first series.”

What will help W Series in its goal to make motorsport more diverse is making an impact at grassroots, with karting predominantly male-dominated. Through just two seasons so far, it seems to be working.

Join us for the inaugural Miami GP on Sunday 8th May on Sky Sports F1

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Join us for the inaugural Miami GP on Sunday 8th May on Sky Sports F1

Join us for the inaugural Miami GP on Sunday 8th May on Sky Sports F1

“I speak to a lot of girls at karting paddocks coming through and a lot of them do see W Series as where they want to go in the next few years,” explains Chadwick. “If you’re a karter trying to get to Formula 1, or trying to get a professional seat… the amount of investment to get to that level is huge.”

Muir continues: “We are already getting reports from kart tracks across the world that more female drivers, more girls are getting into karting.

“In the UK, they are putting it down to W Series.”





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