Autosport – 22 August 2019

(Barré) #1
Victory at Brands
Hatch in BRDC
British F

Chadwick started
her career in
Ginetta Junior

Class win for Aston
Martin in 2019
Nurburgring 24H

British GT4 crown
came in 2015 alongside
Ross Gunn

I’ve done a lot of the work on the simulator. They’re a proper family
and they’ve welcomed me in really nicely. I’ve always really looked
up to Claire, and Claire herself is one for championing women. You
only have to walk around the factory to see that they are the most
diverse team in Formula 1. But ultimately for any young driver to
be involved with Williams, with all their history, it means a lot.”
That involvement with Williams slots Chadwick neatly into a place
formerly occupied by Susie Wolff – both literally and in the sense
that her stellar 2019 positions her as the leading role model for the
next generation. You only need to look at the buzz that was created by
W Series at Brands Hatch, and the attention that Chadwick and all of the
other drivers in the field received from the crowds, to see that this really
does mean something when it comes to proving what women can achieve
in a sport – and a society – so misogynistically driven for so long.
Chadwick admits that she didn’t face – or at least didn’t notice –
much prejudice in her early career, but that as she ascended through
the ranks she realised she was one of few women in the field and
that it wasn’t a “normal” place to be for a woman. If W Series’ and
Chadwick’s new-found fame is successful in heightening female
involvement, that will soon change – but to have become the face
of change almost overnight must certainly be daunting.
“I don’t take much notice – maybe it’s selfish, but I’m just doing

“I know women are capable of achieving

so much in the sport. There is a female

equivalent of Lewis Hamilton out there”

it for me,” admits Chadwick. “The fact that this might inspire other
people is a massive added bonus – but I know what it’s possible for me
to achieve and so I want to achieve that for myself. I know that women are
capable of achieving so much in the sport so I want that to happen. I think
it’s fantastic that W Series has the platform and the exposure that it has
because I’m desperate for more girls and women to get involved. I have
no doubt that there is a female equivalent of Lewis Hamilton out there,
but not every person drives a racing car like they can kick a football.
I’m desperate for it to happen though and maybe this is the first step.”
When Autosport ran its last Women in Motorsport issue in the
summer of 2015, it was Wolff who graced the cover, while Chadwick
was a 17-year-old successfully bidding for the GT4 class title in
the British GT Championship with Aston Martin. Four years have
passed since then, and it now feels as though motorsport has proven
that it has – and is inching closer to be willing to enact upon – an
enormous capacity for change.
Wolff announced her retirement from competition just a year
after that Autosport cover, but is still in a public and high-profile
role as the principal of the Venturi Formula E team and spearheads
the Dare to be Different campaign (see page 22), alongside her new
FIA-backed Girls on Track initiative aimed at encouraging school-aged
girls into motorsport in a wide range of different fields. Perhaps it’s as
a direct result of the achievements of women such as Chadwick and
Wolff, or perhaps it’s a cultural zeitgeist in our evolving times, but
all signs point to the statistic that ‘no woman has raced in F1 for
over 40 years’ being consigned to history before long.
It may be Chadwick who does it, it may be another inspired by her,
or it may be another woman just doing it to prove a point to herself –
but regardless, now feels the best time to be a woman in motorsport.
And that’s a bright and exciting prospect.








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