Jamie Chadwick: Extreme E and W Series are brilliant, but I do miss the pub

jamie chadwick

Jamie Chadwick is the 2019 W Series champion and development driver for the Williams Formula 1 team - the 23-year-old talks to BBC Sport about the highs and lows of trying to get on the F1 grid in an exciting year in Extreme E and back in the W Series, which is supporting the F1 Belgian Grand Prix this weekend

Saturday, 28 AugustQualifying 1 & Qualifying 212:30-13:30 BST & 17:00-19:00 BSTOn iPlayer and BBC Sport website & qualifying 2 also 1730-1900 Red Button
Sunday, 29 AugustSemi-final & Crazy race, Final11:00-12:30 BST & 15:00-17:00 BSTOn iPlayer and BBC Sport website

Extreme E is probably the most fun I have behind the wheel. It's so new and such a different challenge. Trying something new for the first time, you definitely always get that enjoyment you maybe don't get in your day-to-day work.

I love racing and everything I do, but in Extreme E it's a whole new lease of motivation.

What we've been able to do during a race weekend is so different from anything I've experienced. We want to try to leave somewhere in a better place to when we arrived with the legacy projects. Going out early, exploring the location and learning about environmental issues - I'm amazed by my lack of knowledge prior to being involved, to be honest.

Sadly I won't be at the Greenland race - the Arctic X-Prix. It's going to be amazing, possibly the highlight of the Extreme E season. I would love to be involved in what Veloce are doing out there to highlight the issues faced in that part of the world. But the W Series is calling.

Shocking as well as enriching

The biggest shock in Senegal - where I finished second for Veloce - were probably the beaches. It sounds naive to say, but we go to beaches that are public places, designed and cleaned for us to go to, whereas the beach front we raced along wasn't a beach for that purpose. To see the plastic when there's no-one clearing it up is really incredible. If you watch any of the TV coverage or see any photos… it definitely hit home the work that needs to be done.

Extreme E have loads of legacy programmes, including supporting planting a million mangroves which was really cool.

Before the race we went to visit a couple of schools in order to get an understanding of everything they are trying to do. We did a few things, including helping to educate children about recycled plastics in Dakar. And we did beach cleanings afterwards - the plastic pollution was incredible in the city as well.

But what's also cool is the male-female driver paring for all the teams in Extreme E. At the moment the male drivers have much more experience at a higher level than the females. It's great to work with [French driver] Stephane Sarrazin, to be able to develop and learn so much.

But in general it's really showcasing the abilities of women in the off-road world. I've been super-impressed by the girls in off-road. Extreme E is definitely the highest level I've raced at, in that sense.

Enjoying the pressure

I don't have any anxiety about going back and trying to win the W Series again after doing so in 2019. I see it as a positive motivation - 2019 taught me so much, with everything I learned over the past three years, I'm really excited.

Of course there's pressure to win it again, but I see it as a positive. I feel confident. I'll work as hard as I can to do it again - we've done it once before. I like that kind of pressure.

The W Series has done a really nice job with the whole calendar. America and Mexico are two big races I really can't wait for - good bucket-list ones.

The simulator at Williams is the only experience I have of driving a F1 car so far, so I'm able to learn and develop with the team. Williams have been so supportive with what I'm trying to achieve.

But there's nothing like being on the circuit. From my point of view, there's nothing comparable to driving in real life.

I've missed the pub

Last year was an odd year for everyone - I still got to race, so there was a degree of normality in that sense... that it wasn't 12 months of nothing. The main lesson learnt for me is to try to make sure I enjoy everything - I'm so lucky to do what I do. I'm so fortunate to be in the position I'm in. I need to make sure I work hard enough to utilise all these opportunities.

The opportunities for women in motorsport are greater than ever, but I want to take every chance that I get.

I missed the pub. Can I say that? It's not even about the drinking. There's no better feeling, especially when sun's out... you've got your friends with you and it's a nice proper English pub.

I loved watching England in the Euros and Team GB in the Olympics - but if there's a measure of how British I am; nothing in the world beats a pub and a Sunday lunch. I'll cycle it off, if I have to.

I've enjoyed this summer, watching the various sporting events and I'm massively into my cycling now. And training for the triathlon I did kept me busy.

Hopefully there's some light at the end of the tunnel for everyone.

Jamie Chadwick was talking to BBC Sport's Matt Warwick.

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