W Series leader Jamie Chadwick to earn more than Lando Norris if she wins inaugural women-only championship

Britain’s Jamie Chadwick is on course to earn more than Formula One driver Lando Norris by winning the inaugural women-only motor racing championship.

Chadwick, the 21-year-old from Bath, holds a 10-point title lead in this season’s W Series with two rounds remaining, and is set to scoop the 500,000 US dollars (£402,000) top prize.

Norris, 19, recently signed an extension with McLaren following an impressive rookie campaign, but it is understood the British teenager will not get an immediate rise on his £400,000-a-season deal.

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W Series organisers are due to announce full details of this year’s 1.5m US dollars (£1.2m) prize pot on Thursday, with a sliding scale from 500,000 for the winner to 7,500 (£6,000) for the minor places.

The series is also to reveal that next year’s champion will be rewarded with superlicence points by motor racing’s sporting federation, the FIA.


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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. It is understood that the winner of the W Series in 2020 will be awarded 15 points.

“We are about getting our drivers into upper echelons of motorsport, especially into Formula One, and this represents an absolute sea change in opportunities for women in motorsport,” said W Series chief executive Catherine Bond-Muir.

“We believe there is only one woman in the world with superlicence points, Katherine Legge, and her points are about to expire.

“Being involved in W Series is giving drivers the real chance to get into Formula One because you need those points to compete.”

It has been 43 years since a female driver, the Italian Lella Lombardi, started a Formula One race.

Chadwick, who has won two of the four W Series races, was announced as a development driver for Williams earlier this year.

“I believe there will be a girl in Formula One,” said Fabienne Wohlwend, who remains in contention to stop Chadwick from winning the W Series title.

“As soon as one team has a successful woman in F1, other teams will want to have one, so there will be more and more coming through.”

Wohlwend, 21, has competed against Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Norris in motor racing’s junior categories.

She added: “Back when I was karting and competing in Formula 4, I lost count over the number of times I got told ‘good for a girl’.

“But the car doesn’t care if you are male or female, and that is what I like about the W Series.

“When you watch the races, you wouldn’t know it was 18 women drivers competing until we take off our helmets and you see the long hair.”

The penultimate round takes place in Assen, Holland on Saturday, before Brands Hatch plays host to the concluding race on August 10.

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