W Series, Start, Zolder, 2019

W Series confirms eight F1 support races for 2021, no Saudi Arabian round

Other motorsport

Posted on

| Written by and

W Series has confirmed its provisional schedule for next year. The all-women’s championship, which launched in 2019 but did not take place this year, will support eight rounds on the 2021 F1 calendar.

It will appear at six of F1’s European rounds and two North American events. The championship will conclude at the Mexican Grand Prix in October, but a race supporting the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is a notable omission from the schedule.

W Series cancelled its planned second season in 2020, which was to include two F1 support races, running a virtual championship instead. It recently announced it would support a larger roster of F1 races in 2021, prompting speculation the world championship’s new round in Saudi Arabia would be among them.

The country used its first Formula E race in 2018 to highlight recent advances made in its widely criticised treatment of women. Restrictions on women driving cars were relaxed the same year. Women racers tested Formula E cars following the event and raced in its former support series, the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy.

W Series and the Jeddah F1 promoters previously indicated interest in holding a race. RaceFans understands a deal did not come about entirely due to commercial reasons. Sources indicated the series had tabled an initial hosting fee of $14 million, which was subsequently reduced to $11m. That was also rejected.

Both parties are hopeful of agreeing terms for a 2022 support event, with a full diversity and educational programme forming part of the programme.

“The prospect of seeing W Series race alongside Formula 1, the world’s premier motor racing series, has become even more tantalising as a result of today’s announcement of our 2021 race calendar,” said W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir.

“The eight races will allow our fast and fearless female racing drivers to showcase their skills on some of the world’s most iconic racing circuits, in Europe and the Americas, and literally follow in the tyre tracks of the greatest racing drivers in the world today.”

F1 managing director Ross Brawn welcomed the inclusion of W Series on F1’s supporting programmes.

“There is a really exciting mix of circuits that will showcase the exceptional talent of the drivers in the series,” he said.

“We believe that it is incredibly important to give everyone the chance to reach the highest levels of our sport. Partnering with W Series shows our determination and commitment to building greater diversity across Formula 1.”

Provisional 2021 W Series calendar

26th JunePaul Ricard
3rd JulyRed Bull Ring
17th JulySilverstone
31st JulyHungaroring
28th AugustSpa-Francorchamps
4th SeptemberZandvoort
23rd OctoberCircuit of the Americas
30th OctoberAutodromo Hermanos Rodriguez

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Other motorsport

Browse all other motorsport articles

36 comments on “W Series confirms eight F1 support races for 2021, no Saudi Arabian round”

  1. So the Saudis rejected the reduced fee, did they make a counter offer? How much does it cost to run the current F1 GP in the oil state?

  2. Well, it looks better than the F2 calendar.

  3. With only 8 races out of planned 23 it is hardly a shocking news that W series is not going to Saudi Arabia. As it is evident, 75% of the races are held in Europe with the exception of the two. This headline is Buzzfeed worthy of click bait.

    1. The headline is “W Series confirms eight F1 support races for 2021, no Saudi Arabian round”.

      The article goes on to list the eight F1 support races on the calendar and gives the reason why no Saudi arabian round will occur.

      Please tell me what about that is clickbait?!

      1. The fact that there is no mention of the other 14 rounds and yet just because Saudi Arabia is a controversial country for women rights it is the only one mentioned in the title. The article doesn’t specifically dwell on the reasons why Saudi Arabia isn’t on the calendar because there isn’t anything special and yet it is mentioned on the title so that people like us would read it and comment on the article :D

        1. But if people make comments about the torture of women dissidents in KSA, well…..

  4. Is it just me, or does £14m for a support race, when you’ve already got F1 seem quite a lot? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve no idea how these deals work, or what the costs generally entail of transporting everything there, it just struck me as a large figure.

    1. ‘$’s’ sorry, not pounds.

      1. I wouldn’t put it past them to ask more from Saudi simply because the Saudis want to look good.
        “They really want to show how progressive and inclusive they are, so let’s ask them for more…”

    2. Me too to be honest. That’s quite a tidy sum!

    3. Maybe it’s a strategy to make sure there isn’t any women racing in Saudi and therefore no safety risks.

    4. I do think that, since the series pays all cost for the participants, that fee would include all cost to ship the equipment over for a single race. And back again yeah @bernasaurus.

      1. If you ever need a quote for freight come to me first!

  5. From the location of the races it sounds like a logistical issue and statistically if you host a race youre more likely to not have the W-series anyway. Pretty much a non-issue.

  6. “There is a really exciting mix of circuits that will showcase the exceptional talent of the drivers in the series,”

    We can easily verify how much of “exceptional talent” is there in W Series. Champion Jamie Chadwick actually raced this year in another championship, namely Formula Regional European Championship, driving for the best team in the series, Prema. All her team mates finished in top 3, scoring ~350 points in a very close title fight. Meanwhile Chadwick managed to score only 80 points, little over 20% of her team mates tally, and finished 9th, even behind 2 drivers who only participated in 3 out of 8 weekends. This is the real level of female talent in W Series.

    1. @armchairexpert Hope Juju Noda will come around in a couple of years and blast your perception to smithereens.

      Also, since you used the example of FREC, I’ll give the example of Asian F3, where not only did she beat all her teammates, she also beat current stand-in Pietro Fittipaldi. Aside from Fittipaldi, the field also had Jack Doohan, Nikita Mazepin and Yu Kanamaru.

      You really shouldn’t say stuff like

      This is the real level of female talent in W Series

      taking the example of just one season, one which was delayed and disrupted due to Covid.

      1. Juju Noda is definitely creating buzz and since she started at a very young age she definitely has a chance
        I do agree however, that Jamie Chadwick isn’t that great, she’s probably slightly better than Calderon who I guess due to the tragic fact that her race winning temmate sadly passed away the spotlight on her performance wasn’t there
        I’d argue Sophia Floersch is better than Chadwick even though she too struggles against her F3 teammates i.e Petrov
        Yeah Juju Noda might be the first genuinely talented competitive female racer

      2. And in the same series Tatiana Calderon finished 2nd, but during other 7 seasons of racing in recognised championships like F3, GP3 and F2, she barely scored points. Why should anyone pay attention to results in some obscure racing series? I’ve heard it all with Calderon, Floersch or Chadwick, how apparently super talented they were. Then the real test comes and they are miles behind other drivers.

        1. @armchairexpert I don’t think you read my comment properly. The only championship Calderon finished 2nd in was the MRF Challenge. I was talking about F3 Asia, an FIA-branded series with super licence points and, as I mentioned, had some really decent drivers this season like Mazepin, Doohan and Fittipaldi. None of FREC’s drivers in 2020 were much better, Arthur Leclerc has the best record but even he needed 2 years of F4 to be a distant third in the championship and was nowhere near the less-experienced Theo Pourchaire.

      3. Jose Lopes da Silva
        8th December 2020, 12:55

        How can Juju Noda success blast Armchair Expert’s perception regarding W series?

        1. The hope I was referring to being that Noda will do at least a part-campaign in W Series sometime in the future, something to keep her race rust away between long breaks in the calendar.

          1. Jose Lopes da Silva
            8th December 2020, 17:42

            I see. If Juju Noda arrives there and succeeds, it will indeed be interesting.
            I think W Series has its place because I think motorsport is still a physical sport. I don’t see it as a downgrade for women. But I’m curious to see if Noda can overturn the tables. Too long since Michele Mouton.

      4. Exactly, @wsrgo, well said. And thanks for the tip on Juju Noda – I’d never heard of her and now I’ve watched several of her races. There is definitely potential there!!

    2. @armchairexpert Calderon and Chadwick don’t represent women anymore than Mahaveer Raghunathan represents India. Jamie Chadwick will never be F1 world champion (and neither will Raghunathan, obviously), but she might open the door for others, who in time could.

  7. Jose Lopes da Silva
    8th December 2020, 12:59

    The question we should place is if motorsport should be gendered separated, like almost every sport, or mixed, liked chess.

    1. Who is asking this question i am curious? I can’t think of any motorsport series that are gender separated aside for the W series which is intended to show underrepresented female talent.

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        9th December 2020, 1:06

        Who is asking? We. The community. It’s a tradition from democratic countries. It’s like the scientific method. Doesn’t matter who brings the question. Someone does, so the question is here. Then we go for theory and evidence collecting. It’s a tradition associated with the 18th century Enlightenment, a Western concept. It’s like the abolition of slavery. No one considered abolishing until someone did.

  8. Curious to know at what point of time the race weekend would be held ? thursday ?

    1. my bad.
      Curious to know at what point of time during the race week would the W series be held ? thursday ?

      1. Well as F2 and F3 will now attend separate F1 races, I’d assume these races will slot into whatever time the F2 or F3 race would otherwise occupy.

        There used to be two F2 and two F3 races per weekend, and now they want 3 F2/F3 races per weekend, with the W-series slotting into the fourth timeslot at the relevent circuits.

  9. I see a reason why Saudi Arabia isn’t there…

  10. Won’t race in Saudi Arabia? How mysterious! I wonder why?

  11. Awesome to see an update on this racing series. Very much looking forward to it gaining some momentum. Here’s hoping F1TV includes the races in the broadcasts, I mean we get Porsche Super Cup and the other support races.

  12. Just add all the W1 ladies to a big, international, mixed F3 competition. Simples.

  13. Good fortunes to this new series. I bet there is a young lady out there that has racecars in her blood. And may now have a chance for future success. Why not?
    It’s good for all humans. Promote it like F1 and start hyping a few of these women drivers just before the season starts. Create some interest. Get the names of the lady drivers out front. Start small and grow as it happens. Good luck.

Comments are closed.