W Series drivers

W Series gives test chances to 28 drivers from entry of 61

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In the round-up: W Series has narrowed its initial selection of drivers from 61 to 28 as it forms the field which will tackle its inaugural 12-race championship.

W Series trims shortlist to 28

The all-female championship previously indicated it will put 18 to 20 cars on the grid this year. It originally announced 55 drivers were under consideration, then announced a further six had added that list (Alessandra Brena, Francesca Linossi, Andreyeva Lyubov, Gosia Rdest, Ines Taittinger and Alexandra Whitley).

Last weekend 54 of those drivers attended an assessment at the Wachauring in Melk, Austria. From those W Series has trimmed its potential entry list by more than half. These drivers will now attend a four-day test in the W Series’ Tatuus F318 Formula 3 car next month. The first round of the championship takes place in May at the Hockenheimring.

Former IndyCar racer Lyn St James was part of the team involved in selecting the drivers. “Looking back at what has happened over the past three days, it has been good, it has been excellent, but it has not been easy for the drivers or for the judges, the instructors and the people putting on the programme,” she said.

“As much as we’d like racing to be an exact science, and even though it’s always ultimately about lap times, this programme has been able to put so many little pieces together to help evaluate not only the drivers’ talent but also the drivers’ potential.”

The following drivers were selected:

Sarah Bovy, Belgium
Jamie Chadwick, UK
Sabre Cook, USA
Natalie Decker, USA
Marta Garcia, Spain
Megan Gilkes, Canada
Grace Gui, China
Esmee Hawkey, UK
Jessica Hawkins, UK
Shea Holbrook, USA
Francesca Linossi, Italy
Vivien Keszthelyi, Hungary
Emma Kimilainen, Finland
Natalia Kowalska, Poland
Stephane Kox, The Netherlands
Miki Koyama, Japan
Milou Mets, The Netherlands
Sarah Moore, UK
Tasmin Pepper, South Africa
Vicky Piria, Italy
Alice Powell, UK
Gosia Rdest, Poland
Naomi Schiff, Belgium
Shirley Van Der Lof, The Netherlands
Beitske Visser, The Netherlands
Alexandra Whitley, Australia
Fabienne Wohlwend, Liechtenstein
Caitlin Wood, Australian

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Comment of the day

@Sundark on the highs and lows of the Daytona 24 Hours:

I managed to watch the night stint – pretty much all I could see of the 24 Hours. Alonso’s drive was epic, but I have to give the Acura Penske boys and Kobayashi a pat on the back too – especially Kobayashi putting in fastest lap after fastest lap in his stint. And the Wehlen Engineering car did great job too.

I was bummed to see that the Mazdas retired again, I hope their reliability improves from last year and they manage to identify and sort out their niggles by Sebring. Bernhard and Ticknell are superb drivers, and they deserve some wins this year.

It’s also sad that an experienced crew like the Mustang Sampling car didn’t get a proper shot as well, I’m sure they would’ve pulled a fast one in the challenging conditions that I read about during the final quarter.
Sundar Srinivas Harish (@Sundark)

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On this day in F1

  • 25 years ago today McLaren launched the Peugeot-powered MP4/9 for the 1994 F1 season. However the team was on course for its first win-less season in 14 years.

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  • 27 comments on “W Series gives test chances to 28 drivers from entry of 61”

    1. So in FE the pole sitter lost the pole because he applied the brakes in his in lap (!) in a different way than his quali lap.

      And they say F1 rules are absurd…

      1. Yeah that truly is ridiculous. If what he says is true and he didn’t heat the brakes and cause the effect that the new directive was introduced to prevent… It goes without saying that this was a huge stuff up from Formula E.

        1. @afonic @skipgamer
          I think it’s important to remember why this rule exists. The rule is in place to stop drivers overheating their brakes on the in-lap by attempting to keep tyre pressures up through excessive brake use.

          Last race someone managed to do just this and cause a 3 car crash in the pit lane.

          Whilst I agree that the penalty seems overly harsh (and the exact rule does need some tweaking), the reasoning behind the rule is sound – just because he didnt gain an advantage, doesnt mean he should be let off, similar to unsafe release penalties etc.

    2. From the tweets:

      They weren’t looking for the necessarily fastest driver but the whole package.

      That fact that Ayla didn’t make the final 28 in the @WSeriesRacing “judging” says all I need to know.

      So what were the selectors/judges looking for – does anyone know? I don’t want to speculate or read between the lines, given the amount of stuff being tossed around at the W series, but I am genuinely curious.

      1. I initially suspected that maybe age had something to do with it, seeing names like Jamie Chadwick being selected who is only 18 and Ayala being 25, but, there are other 25 year old drivers who have been selected and some with a large career gap.

        I do wonder if contracts and attitudes came into play…

        1. @maddme – thank you. Not age, possibly contracts are both excellent points.

      2. One girls speech about saving the planet was more entertaining. All while wearing their W Series sashes and posing with hands on hips for the cameras. The swimsuit and evening wear rounds were then used to top up the final scores.

        Yes I’m joking, but this stuff really does still happen, in 2019. Sad.

        1. Looking a the instagram accounts of some of these women it seems the swimsuit rounds were exactly what they want.

      3. @phylyp add the restriction to have at least one from Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy and UK since the 6 events will take place in those country and local driver is always good to have extra visibility in national media.

        Then probably drivers which are free for all 6 rounds and depending on contract/sponsor agreement as stated above.

        My main fear is that the field won’t be that competitive and there might be a big gap front to end.

        1. Didn’t look properly, there is actually no German driver in the selection…

          1. Tell me about misrepresentation, no one from Latin America. Not sure if there was one trying to get a spot but what it’s true is the need to have the next Checo Perez.

      4. @phylyp Yeah. I look forward for definition of ‘the whole package’ too…

      5. @phylyp
        In all honesty, the fact that one driver explains her non-selection with a rather oblique allusion to ‘the whole package’, and some journo tweets sore comments about the selection criteria because one driver he happens to be a fan of wasn’t selected, doesn’t necessarily mean that either of them are right. The simplest explanation might still be that the other candidates were better, end of.
        Thus far, all we have is polemic statements by people who came up short or identify with someone who did. I’d be more surprised if no one complained.

        1. Very true, nase. Good point!

      6. @phylyp – I did see an article a few days ago with more details but can’t find it now… but this is one from a few months back, on BBC Sport.

        [Alexander] Wurz said: “The goal is to put together the toughest, most sophisticated selection involving all aspects of a racing driver’s life – the mind, the body, driving, fitness, psychological and psychometric, skills of interviewing and presenting and so on.”

        Not sure exactly what the 10 ‘modules’ were, but I think it would definitely be fair to say that driving only played a part.

        1. @neilosjames – thank you very much. It appears that they have followed a systematic approach to selection, which is definitely reassuring. It does put those two tweets in a different light. It is interesting that “skills of interviewing and presenting” are rated as selection criteria, instead of being added on through a ‘finishing school’ if required.

        2. I think that was in an interview posted by the W Formula itself @phylyp, @neilosjames, I remember that one, could have been maybe a week or two – pretty sure it was included in the roundup.

          Wurz also mentioned that he based it on the program they did with the FIA in their young driver effort (that was also run with Wurz & co.)

      7. @phylyp As Lyn St. James said in the text, they were also scouting for future potential. I was surprised Agren, Tomaselli and maybe Gomez missed out however.

    3. Only three of those names are familiar to me from any occasion before.

      Ocon assisting another driver in a coaching capacity, LOL.

    4. Who told that guy F1 are looking for the fastest drivers?

    5. Looking forward to that championship in general, good change 2 will come from The Netherlands with 4 in the remaining.
      Female drivers will always be back on a seat, simply because of sponsoring.
      A Male Person is on average more worth in marketing today.

      selection. Ps; @Nase is agree, some that could will also be out, only 18-20 can get a drive this year.

    6. @Jehannes

      Female drivers will always be back on a seat, simply because of sponsoring. A Male Person is on average more worth in marketing today.

      You couldn’t be any more wrong.

      If there was a female driver with a junior career even half as good as Robin Frijns, she would be in F1 before you could blink.

      Suzie Wolff got a test seat in F1 despite the fact that there were about 40 drivers more impressive than her in lower categories.

      1. THANK YOU for getting it… nobody else here does.

      2. She’s done well for herself for only having 4 podiums in 10 years of senior racing.

      3. FINALLY some sense. It seems so obvious but somehow not understood by many.

        Good female driver = scarce good
        Scarce good = Money

    7. If Alonso went transgender, would he be allowed to race in the W Series? He could add that title to his growing portfolio.

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