Jamie Chadwick questions whether women can handle ‘extremely physical’ Formula One

Britain’s Jamie Chadwick, who is a two-time W Series champion, is not sure whether female drivers are physically able to take part in Formula One.

The 24-year-old has dominated the W series, which is an all-female racing competition designed in 2019 to springboard talent into F1. 

Chadwick is bidding for her seventh straight victory on the F1's undercard at Silverstone this weekend, as she chases her third title.

The Brit is hoping to become the first female driver to compete in a Formula One race since Italy's Lella Lombardi 46 years ago.

More recently, Susie Wolff, who is married to Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, competed in a Grand Prix practise session.

"I have set myself a goal of competing in Formula One but I don't know what is actually possible," said Chadwick.

"To get into Formula One you have to go through the feeder series - Formula Three and Formula Two - and it is extremely physical.

"Formula One is extremely physical, and we don't know exactly what women are capable of in the sport.

"If you are aged 15 or 16, and go into car racing, without power steering and driving big heavy cars, a lot of women do struggle, even though they have been successful in go-karting.

"We like to think that women can make it - and I am happy to be the guinea pig and will do my best to push and explore the options to Formula One - but we don't know.

"There hasn't been a woman in the recent era that has done it. I am trying to understand whether that is to do with the physical side of it.

"If it is physically possible, and women can compete against men, how do we make that happen? However, if it is physically too hard, but the sport wants women to compete, than we have got to bring it back and understand why."

Chadwick, who is also a development driver for Williams, believes the sport needs to make a number of technical changes in order to aid female racers.

She continued: "I don't think it is just as straightforward as getting stronger in the gym and jumping in the car.

"Although our sport is incredibly advanced with a lot of things, the physical human performance side is misunderstood.

"In Formula Two and Formula Three, the steering wheels are all identical and they have a thick grip. How can we make them thinner because women's hands are not necessarily that big?

"How can we make sure there are no restrictions on how close the pedals are so you can get the right leverage?

"And some of the newer tubs in the cockpit are really narrow. Women with bigger hips can't fit into them comfortably.

"A lot of these things have been overlooked for obvious reasons but now we need to see whether that does make a difference to performance."

READ MORE: Five memorable moments from the British Grand Prix - Verstappen crash, GP priest, Mansell in '87...

Latest news