W Series, Start, Zolder, 2019

W Series should help “integrate” women racing drivers

W Series

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Women-only championship W Series should help promote female racers into mixed motorsport competitions, according to the head of the FIA’s single-seater commission Stefano Domenicali.

Speaking to RaceFans, Domenicali praised the junior single-seater category for women racers which held its inaugural season this year. The former Ferrari team principal described it as a “very positive approach” which can give “attention to women that can give them the focus of making sure they can start a new journey” in motor racing.

Domenicali is keen to see the championship function as a means of promoting women racers into higher echelons of motor racing.

“I do believe in the integration of women and men in our sport because there is no reason why we should keep them separate,” he said.

“I do believe the positive of this is that we are creating an environment that can help to boost the women to get into the system. Then I think that we will make a point in the next three, four years to see how that has boosted up the women attention. And then of course if that has helped we need to integrate.”

The last female racer to enter a round of the world championship was Brabham’s Giovanna Amati in 1992. This year Tatiana Calderon became the first woman to race in the revived Formula 2 category.

Domenicali does not think W Series should grow into a stand-alone international series separate from mixed competitions. “It depends on the development,” he said. “It could but I think that would be not the objective this series should have.”

Jamie Chadwick, who won the first W Series championship this year, tested a Euroformula Open car at Silverstone earlier this month. W Series began the driver selection programme for its 2020 season at the Almera circuit in Spain on Monday.

Why is motorsport facing a shortage of single-seater constructors? Read @DieterRencken’s new RacingLines column today on RaceFans

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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...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 15 comments on “W Series should help “integrate” women racing drivers”

    1. I really like how things have turned around W series.
      At first, many were questioning if it was a good path to take to segregate women for their better good and argue the move might prove counter productive. There were many doubts surrounding the serie.

      Good management and driving standard quickly turned things around and it didn’t take many races before the comments were praising the quality of raising, giving well deserved promotion to those women. This is in my sense the best part of this serie, to make women in motorsport visible and help the young girls to convince their dads they can do it (or change the mindset of the dads so that they take their girls along their boys to the racetrack when they are going if the interest is there).

      All in all, I have been impressed by this serie and I hope they continue to deliver. Hopefully we also get some women going up the ranks in a near future. Would love to see one reach F1 on own merit, would be refreshing (and probably cause too much hype as there is a much place for women than men in F1 and this shouldn’t be that extraordinary).

    2. Would love to see one reach F1 on own merit,

      It’s a numbers game. There needs to be a massive increase in the amount of girls going into Karting. More than ten fold, for an exceptional talent to be uncovered. Girls are not even playing racing sims, or care about E-sports.
      Then remember these girls need extraordinary parents. The dedication required is something else. Hamilton could be working in McDonalds if his father at any point ran out of energy or the tens of thousands of pounds required per year.

    3. All segregation does is lead to resentment, it’s no way to integration.
      I’ve said it before, if any young girl turns up and starts winning in a major championship she’ll get more than enough exposure and financial backing to quickly get to F1. Female product sponsors will be falling over themselves to back her!

      1. It would only lead to resentment with people that think they are being excluded… which is not the point of this series.

        This series provides a clear attainable path/goal for females to reach in single-seater motorsport. The idea is that there needs to be more representation of women in the sport. If more women get interested in motorsport and participate, is better for everyone. Economically and talent-wise.

        1. Good words by both and the user above.
          Numbers game.

    4. Do results in W Series count towards Super License points? Or is it meant purely as a feeder for F3 etc?

      1. They will next year although I think it has yet to be decided how many.

    5. Aside from Jamie Chadwick, who got a test drive role for Williams, Alice Powell has been given a drive in Katherine Legges IMSA sports car team.

      I see W series as an opportunity for women to gain a following in the racing world, to give aid them as they go forwards. I also feel that it should be available for women who are still trying to carve their path and young enough to have a reasonable future in any series that they enter.

      1. Also Alice Powell is a good commentator on the British F4 series (ITV4). If she ever moves on from competing in W series, she should be their first choice for a new commentator.

    6. I think it is a bit daft to expect or even pretend formula w to ever be open to both sexes or to be fair in that regard. Formula w allowing men is just as likely as formula e using petrol engines. It is their whole and only purpose. And while formula e does have a point for doing so (electric racing is a good reason and you can not discriminate against an drivetrain) formula w doesn’t really because by design it is sexist and discriminating. As long as it stays like that the drivers should not be given any super license points. The winner does get good financial support and lots of visibility which is more than enough considering half of earth’s population is not allowed to take part.

      If the goal of the series is to give an easy way for women to enter racing at f3 level then sure it has nailed that target. But if you really want to create a future female talent then a gender segregated racing series with preferential treatment and bonuses will only guarantee the opposite will happen. After all the natural consequence of financially successful formula w with f3 cars is the creation of formula w2 series with formula 2 cars. If formula w solves a problem with women not getting from karts to single seaters then obviously you’d need another formula w to solve the same problem at next stage.

      1. you can not discriminate against an drivetrain

        I think you’ll find FE did in fact do that this season by banning Nissan’s twin motor design!

        1. Somehow i reversed the quotes?
          Edit button?

    7. Yes, but how?
      Japanese junior series failed to generate really good drivers.
      And I mean really good driver, I mean somebody slightly better than GRO, MAG, etc, who are not spetacular but can make a multiyear career in F1.

      1. *And what I mean by really good driver is somebody slightly better than GRO, MAG, etc, who are not spetacular but can make a multiyear career in F1.

    8. I’m not sure I agree with the segregation side of it but it seems like the FIA missed a trick in not folding it into an existing race weekend to get more coverage both at track and on TV.

      Why not have it as a support race for a number of the European F1 weekends so the TV crews, fans and pundits are already there to report on it. Similar to Moto E where they’ve included it in MotoGP weekends so it gets good coverage despite it being of less interest to fans.

    Comments are closed.