W Series, Brands Hatch, 2019

W Series to support eight F1 races in new partnership for 2021

W Series

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W Series, the junior formula for women racers which held its first and only championship last year, will hold events at more than a third of rounds on the 2021 F1 calendar.

Having crowned its inaugural champion Jamie Chadwick in 2019, W Series originally planned to appear alongside two F1 races this year in the USA and Mexico. However those rounds of the world championship, along with the entire W Series season, were cancelled due to the pandemic.

The championship now plans a much larger expansion of its roster of F1 support races for its second season in 2021. W Series will hold support events at eight of next year’s 23 grands prix.

The two championships are yet to confirm which races W Series will appear at. However the reorganisation of F1’s feeder series F2 and F3 leaves ample room for more support races at events. While the two will move from double to triple-header events in 2021, they will no longer appear at the same rounds next year.

W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir said forming a partnership with Formula 1 had always been the “ultimate objective” of the championship. “There is no doubt that, now that W Series will be run alongside and in collaboration with Formula 1, our global reach, impact and influence will be increased significantly.

“Everything that made W Series so popular and successful in 2019 will remain. The cars will be identical, the racing will be close and competitive, and our mission will always be to further the interests and prospects of female racing drivers.

“We want W Series to entertain, and entertain it will. But we also want it to become a crucial default-option stepping stone for any female racing driver who wants to carve out a professional racing career, and our proximity to Formula 1 will help and enhance that process.”

Formula 1’s managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn said it was a “really important moment for us to welcome W Series as partners for eight races this season.

“They have been a beacon to many since they began racing in 2019. We believe it is incredibly important to give everyone the chance to reach the highest levels of our sport and their partnership with Formula 1 next season shows our determination and commitment to showcase their exciting series and the importance of building greater diversity across the sport.”

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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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34 comments on “W Series to support eight F1 races in new partnership for 2021”

  1. So that was the real reason why F2 and F3 needed to disappear as feeder series because the W series had to become one.

    Very few things the FIA and F1 have tried to organize or change has been presented in an open and honest way.

    They tend to create the appearance of collusion and conspiracy.

    1. It’s not that at all. F2 & F3 have managed to increase the amount of racing they do from a combined 42 races up to 45 races and they’ve done it at the same time as reducing the amount of travel they do by 30%. It’s a huge cost going from track to track, and to reduce that by 30% is massive and very worthwhile. The fact Formula W is supporting F1 next season aswell is neither here nor there, although it is great for FW. The calendar change makes a lot of sense, and the fans get the same amount of F2 racing and 3 more F3 races.

  2. I think W Series should be backing up as many series as possible. Of course F1 is the pinnacle of auto racing but at the same time there are many other series. If W Series helps a driver getting a paid drive in WEC – fine.

    A few races supporting F1 in Europe, then take North American visit to support IndyCars, maybe to Japan with Super GTs and Australia with Supercars.

    1. I totally agree that’s a great idea. I suppose it would be quite costly but they are putting a lot of effort in it anyway. I think it would have made more sense if they travelled with F2 and F3 series as much as possible too. They need a closer exposure to the teams there. As much as the coverage of F1 is huge to the common folk, at the end of the day these drivers are looking for an opportunity in those categories as much as F1. We all know how cut throat the driver market is in F1.

  3. Good news, the odd looking F2 and F3 calendars make a bit more sense now.

  4. So with priority all races in the sandbox?

  5. Don’t see why this sexist racing series should be given a platform. Discrimination based on sex should be avoided whenever possible, and I’m pretty sure that is law in a lot of countries. Women and men are allowed to participate together in any racing series I know of, except this one.

    1. Indeed, people are so blinded by forcing ‘equality’, they don’t realise they are going backwards instead of forwards.

      Any excellent female driver would rise to the top in karting, junior formula and into F1 without a problem. Female product sponsors would be lining up to support them!

      1. This series is as much for the current racing drivers as younger generations. The current handful drivers are well aware of their skill levels and the areas that they need to improve upon to race in other series. This series is also here to inspire younger female audiences. It is here to break the stigma of motorsports being for just boys. So that maybe in the future we can have more female drivers in every racing series. Most likely it will diminish and disappear after it serves it purpose.

        1. But what if Motorsport by its nature is attractive to mostly boys? Why is that a problem?

          I don’t see people pushing for men only Netball championships, or sycronised swimming, because naturally those atract mainly girls. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

          1. Actually boys have campaigned to participate in both those sports and there most definitely are men’s netball and synchronised swimming teams.

      2. This is a deeply tedious argument that immediately falls apart when you either look at the drivers in W Series, who all ran out of funding rather than talent (Alice Powell, for instance, has been working as a plumber’s mate for the majority of the time since she won a Formula Renault championship) or at the last serious chance a woman had to drive in F1.

        Simona de Silvestro unquestionably had enough talent to drive for Sauber but even with quite a major platform, she could not get the funding for a race drive. It’s just drivel to uneducatedly repeat the idea that women – who, in sport, are massively underpaid and undersponsored compared to men – can somehow draw on millions of fictional dollars that are unavailable to other athletes.

        1. @hazelsouthwell

          A ton of male drivers lack sufficient funding to be a pay driver in F1, so that doesn’t disprove that female drivers have it easier.

          Kaltenborn implied that Simona de Silvestro was only even considered for a drive because of her gender, so she had a benefit there. Instead of her, the 2015 Sauber drivers were Nasr and Ericsson, both pay drivers, who also had far better racing results than De Silvestro. So if she merely had to match the sponsorship of one of these drivers, she would have had a leg up due to her gender.

          As for female athletes being underpaid, that’s probably because female athletes typically perform in separate competitions at a far lower performance level. It’s not uncommon for the best adult female athletes in a sport to be on part with the best 13 year old boys (in sports with objectively comparable performances). Viewership figures of competitions for competitions of 13 year old boys and for female sports tend to be far lower than for top tier male sports, suggesting that viewers typically want to see the best of the best.

          Female athletes are typically paid far more than men who perform equally, but this apparently is “massively underpaid.” Typical illogical reasoning by advocates for gender inequality.

          1. @aapje

            Professional female athletes do not even remotely operate on the level of 13 year old boys and that is an absurdly offensive, completely baseless invention of your own biases, which seem to be entirely laser-focussed on proving that white men are somehow disadvantaged by diversity initiatives.

            Women’s sport is under-developed, especially in areas of sport science. It’s poorly funded and women’s competitions were ruled impossible, if not outright banned, in many categories for a lot of the 20th century. It’s also less televised, given less coverage and less developed as a business because of attitudes like yours that belong in a prior century.

            Your point about Nasr and Ericsson is entirely irrelevant: if, as the original poster had alleged, any woman who could make it to F1 would be showered in sponsors then De Silvestro would have easily made the sponsorship requirements. She did not, so the alleged funding advantage is as fictional as your assumption that there is no interest or point in women’s sporting participation.

          2. @hazelsouthwell

            I might have exaggerated a bit, but fact is that in many sports, if there wasn’t a separation by gender, no women would even qualify for the Olympics. You trot out the usual list of excuses, even though a large male-female gap exists in sports where women clearly have equal facilities, like running and swimming. Women use the same running tracks and same swimming pools as men. Bob Kersee trained Florence Griffith Joyner, but also male gold winning athletes.

            You have the typical feminist conspiracy mindset, where pointing out differences is interpreted as causing differences. This makes your beliefs fully proof against rebuttals, since anyone who points out that your beliefs about gender differences are wrong, is considered a sexist who causes these gender differences through mind control and other magical means that you cannot prove exist.

            As for your final point, you are misrepresenting the other poster. He clearly said that sponsors would be lining up for an “excellent female driver.” De Silvestro race results are not excellent. They are Latifi-level. Note that Latifi is only in F1 due to a rich daddy. De Silvestro, like a ton of male drivers, doesn’t have billionaire parents.

    2. Do we have to have this tedious bilge under every article about women in motorsport? Nobody comes onto the F1 articles on this site and says ‘F1 is terrible, I don’t want to watch it, it shouldn’t be given publicity,’ even though there are many people out in the real world who do feel that way.

      If you don’t want to watch women in motorsport, then just leave the people who do alone. There are plenty of actual injustices in the world to work yourself into a futile puce fury about.

      1. Do we have to have this tedious bilge under every article about women in motorsport?

        Amen. It’s tiring to found those comment again, and again, and again. It adds nothing to the subject.

    3. Discrimination based on sex should be avoided whenever possible, and I’m pretty sure that is law in a lot of countries. Women and men are allowed to participate together in any racing series I know of, except this one.

      I agree with your argument, but it overlooks there is a problem in motor racing, and especially in F1. When F1 ran its virtual Grands prix earlier this year not one of the guest drivers was a woman. Doesn’t that sound like discrimination? I would have expected somewhere between 40% and 60% of the guest drivers to have been a lady, but no, not one of the drivers was a woman. Many of the guest drivers weren’t a professional racing car driver, but all were men. Teams would rather ask a man who wasn’t a professional driver to be their guest driver than to ask a professional racing car driver who happened to be a woman to be their guest driver. I know this might be offensive to some in F1, but it certainly looks like F1 discriminates against woman racing car drivers. If it is acceptable for men to bar women from racing, then why should we be upset when they choose to have a racing series that excludes us?

  6. @IVALYO I think this would fall under positive discrimination, and I think it’s great if in the future it encourages more people to pursue something they are good at and enjoy. Other than the average reaction time difference between men and women being that men are on average slightly faster (remembering that the fastest woman is likely faster than any man you’ve met, in the same way your average man can’t return a serve from Serena Williams).

    There is little evidence being quick in a car has any gender bias, motorsport is in the very enviable position as a sport where anyone can compete on a somewhat level playing field, and a quick scan of top level motorsport tells you that that isn’t happening.

    I agree the series isn’t perfect, but it’s intentions are good and I think the ultimate goal of the series is to not be needed anymore, and I hope it achieves it.

    1. Is this positive discrimination in the same way that affirmative action discriminates against Asian-Americans for university places?

    2. “Positive” discrimination is discrimination, no matter what kind of a swing you give to it. There are still people who lived through WW2 and we are already breaking the covenant of non-discrimination. The stupidity of you do-gooders cannot be understated. Just stop making sex and race a factor in any kind of policy making, how hard can it really be?

      1. @IVAYLO Here we go, the ‘do gooders’ argument. You made you point in triple Trump, we get it.

        1. @tonymansell

          The Trump comparisons are getting really old. It just shows how limited your world view is. Apparently, there exist only two kind of people for you, people who agree with you and Trump.

  7. @hollidog I’ve absolutely no idea, I don’t know, sorry. There are just as many places for men in motorsport as there was before, nobody has lost anything. The only thing that has changed is that there is a platform that suggests to kids that women can drive fast cars, I don’t see any harm in that.

    1. I agree with the principal but I disagree with the method. I would love to see more women involved with motorsport, but authoritarian discrimination of any sort should be strongly discouraged. It’s not reverse sexism or positive discrimination. It’s just sexism and discrimination.

    2. Totally needs a leg up I agree. A lot of girls have no interest because they have no representation. Its hard enough for the man on the street to associate with v shaped rich kids racing round a track. I know as a boy id not have been interested if it was a sport dominated by middle aged females, its just how it is with kids. I was dubious when the same thing was happening in football but after a century of sport being dominated by men and talked about by men for men and in some cases female participation being outlawed, some balance needs to be redressed. If that needs this, so be it. As you say @bernisaurus its not taking away anything from what is on the menu already.

    3. But what if hypothetically, the winner of a women’s F2 championship is given a guaranteed F1 seat at the expense of a male, who might actually be better but is simply the wrong sex. That’s discrimination no matter how its dressed up!

      1. Sounds a bit like Perez being booted from Racing Point… I wouldn’t be too outraged. Better drivers miss out on seats all the time.

      2. Since that isn’t happening or likely to happen, it’s irrelevant but it’s terribly sweet that you believe Formula One seats are awarded via a solemn system of meritocratic balance.

        1. You know what I mean…

  8. One of the races should be in Saudi Arabia, to show the misogynistic men that women can drive, and a lot better than they can.

    1. See this is unrequired because women are now allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia

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