What if Jamie Chadwick joined Formula E?
The 21-year old Englishwoman is one of the main female names in motorsport at the moment and would be an excellent addition to the electric car competition
During the Formula E season finale in Berlin, a possible vacillating of a Venturi employee generated a small rumor about Jamie Chadwick’s joining the Monegasque team. In a conversation with a foreign website, the employee would have said “Ok, if you need any information about Felipe, Ed, or Jamie, just let me know”. Felipe and Ed, obviously, were Felipe Massa and Edoardo Mortara, but who was Jamie?
The story was told on the Formula E Zone YouTube channel in this video, starting at 10:14. In it, Jack Giordmaina reports that he interviewed Susie Wolff during the Berlin races and that Susie said that Jamie “is a driver that you definitely have to keep an eye on and that certainly other teams are doing it”.
However, according to Jack, in Susie’s words: “Any driver needs to win the right to be in Formula E, you don’t get a seat just because you ‘are doing well’ in other categories. You have to be consistent. Jamie was a champion in the W Series, so everyone’s watching her”.
Despite Susie Wolff’s tone of mystery, it’s no secret that she and Chadwick have a connection through Dare to be Different, Susie’s project that aims to give visibility to female drivers.
Whether or not Jamie Chadwick will make his Venturi debut next season, we still don’t know. The fact is that there is a vacancy left by Felipe Massa and many people are keeping an eye on her. But is Jamie a real candidate to fill it?
THE SUPER LICENSE
Just like Formula 1, Formula E also requires a minimum amount of Super License points for a driver to race in the series. It takes 20 points acquired in 3 years to qualify for a starting spot, but not only that, they all need to receive an exclusive qualification to drive electric cars.
This qualification is obtained through training developed by FIA in which the drivers learn about electrical safety, specific characteristics of a fully-electric Formula E car, besides reviewing the technical and sport aspects of the category.
W Series first season gave no points to any of the participants. Starting this year, 15 would be awarded for the first place, 12 for the second, and 10 for the third one (points would be given until 8th place), but then “there was a pandemic in the middle of the way” and the plans were postponed to 2021.
Chadwick, then, moved as she could. She disputed the Asian F3, finished 4th in the championship, getting his first 10 points. And she is also participating in the European F3 with the Prema team, a championship that began on August 3 and runs until December 6 (after the first stage, the Brazilian Gianluca Petecof is the leader with 55 points and Jamie is 5th with 27).
The British woman has until then to get another 10 points and reach the 20 needed to become eligible for Formula E, that is, she needs at least 4th place overall. If she’s a champion, she’ll score 30 points and have the 40 she needs to go to Formula 1.
THE JAGUAR TEST
Chadwick is no stranger to Formula E. She participated in the rookie test in March of this year racing for Panasonic Jaguar, having Sacha Fenestraz as a teammate. There, Jamie made the 13th fastest time among the 22 drivers participating in the test and finished three positions behind Fenestraz.
Jamie also talked about the test in a Jaguar podcast: “There are two sides of a test like Marrakesh. To start, it has the development role for the team, because these tests are like gold for the engineers”.
According to her, the drivers’ work is complementary: “Our role as beginners is to go to the track, collect information, gather as much data as possible and provide feedback to the team”.
But there’s another crucial factor for rookies: “The test days are a great opportunity for us as drivers, so from a personal point of view, I just wanted to do the best job I could. As a young driver, you’re on a huge stage, so you know it’s a good opportunity to introduce yourself and show your potential skills in a car like the Jaguar I-TYPE 4”.
About the main learning, Jamie revealed that “I learned that the main skill in Formula E is adaptability because you have to acclimate as fast as possible. The way street tracks evolve throughout the day is challenging, not like anything I’ve experienced before. You’re constantly learning on a Rookie Test weekend and having the opportunity with Panasonic Jaguar was amazing.
If she even gets a spot at Venturi, Chadwick will join Max Günther, Nick Cassidy, and Sérgio Sette Câmara who participated in the same test before becoming official drivers.
FEMALE DRIVERS IN FORMULA E
Three female drivers have already passed through Formula E: Michella Cerruti, Katherine Legge, and Simona de Silvestro.
Simona was the only one who competed in a full season in Formula E, she raced for Andretti Formula E Team in 2015/16 alongside Robin Frijns and she is the current Tag Heuer Porsche’s reserve driver.
Besides them, Alice Powell also participated in Virgin’s rookie test and competed in the second season of Jaguar I-PACE eTrophy.
IS THERE A PLACE FOR JAMIE CHADWICK IN FORMULA E?
Yes, there is. Twelve teams race in the series and only Techeetah, Virgin, Jaguar and Porsche have confirmed their two drivers for next year, the others are with one or the two free spots.
The 7th season of the category starts on January 16 in Santiago, Chile. The preseason should be held in late November either in Spain (as in the previous years) or England. The time can be tight, but it is possible.
Jamie’s departure to Formula E depends on herself at that first moment. Showing good results, racing pace, ability to dispute, and to withstand the pressure to win a lot in a short time, will be some of the factors that can lead to the rise of her career, not only towards Formula E but also to other categories, especially Formula 1.
Chadwick already has a connection with the top category of motor racing because she is a Williams development driver, but because she is not a reserve, his role is much more internal. Maybe there will be a “promotion” when the super license points come.
We all know this is Chadwick’s goal, but with the grid getting tighter and tighter, Formula E becomes more and more a viable career alternative for young drivers coming from junior series, like Max Günther and Nyck de Vries.
The partnership between Jamie and Susie would be great for Venturi, having a female driver headed by a woman who has another woman as her right-hand man is to be at the top of the female representation in motor racing, within the current scenario.
A female driver would be a commercial attraction for any team in both series, but Chadwick needs to prove every day that she will reach the top of motor racing on his own merit and because she is fully capable of competing on equal terms with any opponent, regardless of gender.
In general, it’s easier to get into Formula E than Formula 1, mainly because of the Super License issue — which is the biggest drama of any base driver today. After that, it’s hard to say what the next steps of the British will be, but electric car competition may become a possible way.
Starting next year, Formula E will officially be a world championship. It’s a shorter way than going through F2 and then going to F1, not to mention that you have to be in a great team to win the championship.
But regardless of her choices, the spotlight is already on Chadwick, she is the closest woman to reach the main motorsport series right now. Even at the age of 21, she already carries on her shoulders the “responsibility” of being the first woman to race for Formula 1 after more than 40 years, but if she wants to take a ride for Formula E first, she’ll be very welcome!
Originally published on 26/08/2020 at boletimdopaddock.com