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Is Jamie Chadwick’s Indy NXT performance a cause for concern?

Written By Maria Gadalla, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Jamie Chadwick certainly is an outlier in all forms of motorsport.

For example, out of the 48 Reserve Drivers in F1, only ten are female. Of those ten, Jamie Chadwick is the one competing in an IndyCar-affiliated league. The other nine all come from European leagues (Ferrari’s Aurelia Nobel’s drives in Italian F1) and F1 Academy, and, as such, drive cars that are somewhat similar to an F1 car… and are vastly different to an IndyCar.

On top of Chadwick being the only female Reserve Driver in an Indy league, she also is the only female driver in her league. Driving for Andretti Autosport, she currently ranks 16th in Indy NXT with 139 points. This doesn’t phase her, saying to Will Buxton in an interview that “from 12 years old, I’ve been racing against men” and that it doesn’t change anything. Unfortunately, Chadwick has yet to have a win or bring home a podium. She has only finished in the top 10 twice, and these stats are not what will bring her closer to her dream of breaking it into F1 (or IndyCar). Many have criticised her slow adaptability to Indy NXT, and suddenly, there are fears of the career move turning out to be a rather tough move. .

So then, why did Jamie Chadwick move to America and to IndyCar’s feeder series? Chadwick herself stated the significant difference between the two forms of racing, noting the street-circuit layout of tracks that run an hour long and “there is no tyre saving, you’re just pushing all the way.” The jump to IndyCar would have been a big one, considering that W-series cars used F3 spec cars. And Chadwick won the W-Series thrice.

Chadwick is currently racing in IndyNXT. Image credit - Motorsport Images

So why wouldn’t Chadwick step up to F3 - or even F4?. Evidently, she can drive a F3 car. Was the W-Series too easy? Why not just move to Formula 4 or Formula 3? Or even F1 Academy?

The latter, of course, couldn’t have happened, since Chadwick made the shift prior to F1 Academy coming into effect. As for the Formula feeder series, the word on the street was of her financial issues preventing her entering the junior Formulae. However, the young British racer still has hope, as she is Reserve Driver for the Williams F1 Team. Jamie Chadwick is on the Formula One paddock, she is more so behind the scenes. Nevertheless, she is still present in the paddock.

So, whilst McLaren’s Palou and O’Ward also occupy the unique space of being IndyCar drivers who also wear F1 Team uniforms, Chadwick is the only female to do so. Palou and O’Ward made their career names driving in Indy Series cars, while Chadwick did it driving F3 cars. Hence, Chadwick’s slow up-take to IndyCar comes from a very, very, very unique position.

Still, the pressure is on. Motorsport racing is known for its ruthlessness, and whilst there has been a huge movement of women in motorsport, there is no chance to put our heads in the sand. There is still a long way to go for equilibrium, and the likes of seeing a driver like Jamie Chadwick make it into F1. The question is: How long will that take? Only time will be able to tell us the tale.

Do catch the IndyCar action live this weekend, as the series returns to the Brickyard, this time for the Gallagher Grand Prix taking place on Sunday, 13th August, 2023.


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