Lance Stroll, Williams, Suzuka, 2018

F1 drivers cautiously positive about W Series

2018 United States Grand Prix

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Formula One drivers asked about the upcoming DTM support category W Series have been cautiously neutral or supportive of the all-female series, with Lance Stroll saying that it’s normal to have sports categories separated by gender.

Speaking to media yesterday in Austin, Stroll said that he believed women could compete in Formula One and that they were just as fast as men, in other categories. However, he said the W Series was not a bad thing and that separating women’s and men’s motorsport was normal, looking at other sports.

Asked about W Series Stroll said “I don’t think it’s a bad thing. There’s no doubt that women can compete in Formula One. We’ve seen fast women racing drivers in the past and there are currently still fast ones out there. I haven’t really been following much of the other categories, but I’m sure there’s competitive women drivers and they should be entitled to race in Formula One if they have the ability to, but I definitely don’t think it’s a bad series.

“We see it in all sports: tennis, soccer, and hockey there’s the men’s league and the women’s league so I don’t see why it should be any different”

W Series is due to start next year, following DTM as a support category with three 30-minute races across a weekend. Drivers have yet to be announced but the series will be free for any woman of sufficient standard to compete in.

Asked about the series, Fernando Alonso was more cautious than Stroll but said he would be looking at it with interest – “It’s difficult to have an opinion from the outside because I don’t know exactly the rules and the things behind everything in the series, so let’s wait, let’s see how it goes and how it develops and we will look from the outside with interest.”

Max Verstappen said that the series was too controversial to comment on, as anything he said would lead to argument and that regardless of what he said it was now a fact to be lived with – “I read about it but I’m not going to share my opinion on it. Otherwise you have different people fighting each other again and it’s not necessary.

“It’s there and we have to live with it. But I don’t share my opinion.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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16 comments on “F1 drivers cautiously positive about W Series”

  1. Why is it so offensive that F1 does not have a 50-50 based on gender when it is far from that on world regions representarion.
    I mean, if the world population composition by genders is base for change in F1, why not nationalities.
    Over a third of the world population is in Asia/Oceania. The closer one gets for representation of this region is Ricciardo.
    Wouldn’t it be equally outrageous that F1 does not have three Chinese and three Indian drivers?

    1. No it isn’t. F1 is mainly a European sport and always has been. The most iconic tracks are from Europe with the exception of Interlagos and Suzuka. It is only natural that drivers are mostly from Europe. Ricciardo isn’t a good example since Australians are literally the British who migrated in Australia. Someone like Haryanto is closer to your example.

      1. And the sport continuously tries to expand its viewing and participation figures in these regions. Just as it now is with gender.

        If course you can’t build and fund a grand prix in Womanistan though. Because it’s not a country. So this would be the natural alternative.

      2. @panagiotism-papatheodorou

        F1 is mainly a male sport and always has been. The most iconic drivers are men with the exception of Lella Lombardi and Maria Teresa de Filippis. It is only natural that drivers are mostly men.

        :)

    2. I’m not sure anyone is saying it should be 50-50, we’re talking more here about changing it so isn’t 100%-0%

      1. Why change it? The best drivers get the seat. What is there to change?

    3. F1 should be the 20 best drivers on earth REGARDLESS of their nationality, gender, skin color or geographical location. Period.

  2. I don’t understand this line…

    free for any woman of sufficient standard to compete in

    Didn’t every women drivers need a contract with the teams? So it should be the same, either they good enough or have sufficient sponsor/money that back them up…

  3. Is someone familiar with horse riding? It’s also a mixed sport where male and female compete together with success for both. But I haven’t been following very closely and can’t say if it has always been the case or if it’s quite recent.

  4. Max Verstappen said that the series was too controversial to comment on

    I was tempted to air my opinion, but Max is demonstrating the only wise option to take here.

    1. @charleski While at the same time not completely hiding what he thinks of it.

      1. You know he has a little sister who was going well in carting but stopped because there was no future on higher series.. Maybe is that what he is thinking off..

      2. Maybe it is really a mined field. Ones says the female series is not necessary, then it can be interpreted as if there is no problem. Ones says that is necessary, then in can interpreted as if female drivers can compete.
        In fact, both sides can take offense for different reasons whatever the stetement would be.

  5. There’s surely a easy way to boost interest in Formula W. Make all the cars look as good as a Lotus 49, drop in a sweeet sounding V10 (running on environmentally conscious bioethanol or something) minimise the over-the-body aero package so they can overtake, and run them hard around classic tracks. Simples!

  6. I’m offended that Max didn’t share his opinion! So controversial!

  7. From what I can make out, Formula W is running a similar level of power to Formula 3. What it will offer is an opportunity for a driver to showcase her skill and potentially open doors into a higher mixed level of racing.

    Regardless of what many people may feel or say, a woman is equally capable of performing at a high level and in other racing formulas many have shown that they do have tremendous levels of ability.

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