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today is May 26, 2022

Formula 3 boss Bruno Michel says it is a “pity” W Series champion Jamie Chadwick failed to get a seat for the 2022 season.

Michel, who also runs Formula 2, said it is a priority to ensure female drivers have access to their championships.

“This is something that is completely key for us, completely key for the future,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “We have plans to try to help female drivers to come into our championship.

“We just want to make sure that when they come into F2 and F3 – because that’s the first championship that we’re promoting – they have to be ready. Because if they come just to make [up] the numbers, just to say we have female drivers in the championship, not only it’s not going to work, but it’s not going to serve the purpose of trying to show that female drivers can at this level win races because that’s really what we want to show.”

F3 is working with W Series chief Catherine Bond Muir and the president of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission, Deborah Mayer, to diversify the series’ all-male roster.

“They both have a programme that we want to try to work with,” Michel said. “We’ve already done, last year, testing for two female drivers from W Series and two female drivers from the Ferrari programme and we are going to follow up on that. We want to organise another test this year, but we want to do more because testing is not just enough. So that’s something we’re working on at the moment.”

Two-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick announced earlier this year she had failed to secure the F3 seat she had been hoping and would return to the all-female junior series for a second title defence.

Michel said he did not know why Chadwick had been unable to get a 2022 seat in F3. “I don’t really understand why she couldn’t get a seat in Formula 3, to be perfectly honest. There were teams that were ready to take her.

“I know there’s been a discussion with one team, I don’t know what happened at the end. And I think it’s a pity because I think she would be ready for Formula 3 and she’s not here and she’s going to do another yeah in W Series. So it is what it is. And she decides on what she wants to do with her management, her career.”

Nevetheless, Michel said, “we absolutely need to prepare young female drivers to get to the level of Formula 3 with success and with success it means that we need to be sure that when they come there, at least they can qualify in the top 12 because then everything is changed, that’s the beauty of this format.”

Formula 3’s partially-reversed-grid format means that the 12th-place qualifying driver starts the first race of a weekend on pole.

Michel emphasised that female drivers coming to the series would need to prove they could secure results. “If it’s to be at the back of the grid it will be counterproductive because we will have many people saying, ‘look,’ which is exactly what we don’t want.

“We very strongly believe that there’s absolutely zero reason that a female driver cannot achieve the same result as a male driver, but it’s a question of preparation.”

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