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BRITAIN’S W Series champion Jamie Chadwick says her dream of ending Formula One’s long-standing female driver drought appears further away than ever.
Chadwick, 21, won the inaugural all-female motor racing series this year, pocketing more than £400,000 in the process.
The Bath racer has signed as a development driver for Williams, and she travelled with the British team to a number of Formula One grands prix this term.
James Hunt and Niki Lauda were contesting for the championship the last time a female driver took part in a Formula One race — the Italian Lella Lombardi in 1976.
And despite her recent progression in the last 12 months, Chadwick believes her hopes of joining Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in motor racing’s elite category remains a distant reality.
“To be completely honest it feels further away,” she said. “Young drivers massively underestimate Formula One and how high that level is in comparison to any junior formula.
“I know what I need to now learn and I am not going to rush and cheat that. But I get messages on social media asking if I am replacing Robert Kubica at Williams next season. In my head that is not even a realistic option.
“I need the time to develop and if I get to Formula One I want to be the best possible driver to make the mark I need to make rather than be there a year or two too early for no reason.”
The W Series was dreamt up in the hope of providing female drivers with greater opportunities within the sport, and a pathway to the higher echelons of motor racing.
Chadwick won two races and secured three podiums en route to clinching her historic title this year.
Next season’s champion will be rewarded with superlicence points by motor racing’s sporting federation, the FIA, for the first time.
To compete in a Formula One grand prix, a driver must have collected 40 superlicence points. Twenty-five points are needed to take part in practice.
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