W Series has until ‘end of next week’ to ensure it can complete final races

W Series

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W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir says that the championship has until “the end of next week” to secure financial support that will allow it to finish this season as planned.

Prior to last weekend’s round in Singapore supporting Formula 1, reports surfaced suggesting that the all-woman single-seater series was in financial strife. In an interview with the BBC, Bond Muir confirmed the championship’s ability to race at the United States Grand Prix in Austin later this month could not be guaranteed.

“We’ve hit some financial problems in the last couple of weeks because we thought that an investor was going to honour a contract that they had written,” Bond Muir explained. “Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, which has left us with a cash shortfall.

“There are lots of factors that are adversely affecting us in the global financial climate. Getting to Austin has become increasingly difficult because obviously we budgeted in US dollars a year ago and because of the devaluation of the pound, we’ve hit increasing problems because of that.”

Asked whether there was a deadline to confirm if the series would be able to race in Austin as planned, Bond Muir said the championship would have to cancel plans to race if their financial situation did not improve “towards the end of next week”.

Beitske Visser won yesterday’s W Series race in Singapore
“We do have certain deadlines on confirming a whole variety of costs,” she explained. “So I’m working night and day in Singapore to make that happen. And let’s see where the next few days leads us.”

Despite W Series’ difficult financial situation, Bond Muir says she is still “very optimistic” that a financial rescue package would emerge for the championship and the championship will continue to help develop drivers into the future.

“Where I sit now at the moment, given this inbound interest – and literally, as I was walking across to speak, someone else grabbed me and pushed a card of someone who interested – we are running a process at the moment,” Bond Muir said.

“I remain very optimistic that we are going to be around next year and we are going to continue supporting women in motorsport. At some point in the future we hope a W Series driver will get into Formula 1.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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52 comments on “W Series has until ‘end of next week’ to ensure it can complete final races”

  1. Looks like W-Series has been highly successful at proving it was a flawed concept right from the beginning.
    Unfortunately, it isn’t (or wasn’t) very successful at anything else.

    1. The TV coverage of W series has been pretty poor. It has a 30 minute slot on free-to-air TV, and when you take out the adverts, the pointless interviews, and the formation lap, you are lucky if you get 10 minutes of action. That just isn’t enough to get people interested. Maybe it gets better coverage on a subscription channel but it is not going to build public recognition and popularity if they are milking it for every last penny already.

      There is also no brand recognition in W series. When people watch F1 they can see brands they recognise, the red Ferrari, the silver Mercedes. When you watch W, it is Jenner Racing, to which most people will say “who?” and “Click 2 Drive Bristol Street Motors” and for those of you outside the UK, Bristol Street Motors is a used car dealer, so it doesn’t exactly project the image of a top flight racing series supported by brands with global recognition.

      They’ve even made the race suits bland. Everyone has an essentially white suit with a splash of colour around the collar, and even that is done in the same asymmetric pattern for every driver, with a W on the front to remind you it is a woman.

      So I wouldn’t say the concept is flawed, but the marketing and promotion of it sure is.

      1. That’s the thing though, marketing and promotion are part of the concept. It’s a whole package. Marketing and promotion aren’t simply endowed on a series. They are bought, lobbied, and if a series becomes successful those conversations get easier.

        What’s the problem? The W-Series has had an absolutely dominant driver winning more than 50% of the races, winning 3 championships in a row, and said champion hasn’t been able to “graduate” to a more senior category. There is no belief in the series. It’s not about biases against it. We’ve seen women go much farther than Jamie Chadwick, who by all accounts is the most promising woman in motorsports right now. Tatiana Calderon, who sucked, was able to secure a seat with Alfa, get an F2 seat. She was poor in all of those roles, but she got them. Was is mostly as a pay-driver? Yes. But it proves the point that the W-Series isn’t garnering enough interest.

        1. Jamie Chadwick, who by all accounts is the most promising woman in motorsports right now

          A 24-year-old in a Formula-4-level series competing only against other women.

          If that’s not a sad state of affairs and an indictment of the whole concept, I don’t know what is.

          1. it’s much more F3.
            The trouble is womon don’t get the support enough so the field is thin.

            It’s a general problem, not to the series.
            And money is always an issue in motorsport, wouldn’t you agree.

          2. @Jehannes

            That’s simply not true, as can be seen by their relative performance on tracks they both raced at this year:

            Hungaroring 2022

            FIA Formula 3 Q Pole – 1:32.740 min
            W Series Q Pole – 1:42.986 min

          3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FIA_Formula_3_Championship#Engine
            FIA F3 uses 380bhp engines

            The other F3 series are most often using engines weaker than 300 bhp.

            Formula Regional Asian Championship 270 bhp

            Formula Regional European Championship 270 bhp

            W Series 270 bhp

            Toyota Racing Series (NZ) 270 bhp

      2. In the UK, Sky has full rights to W Series this year. This means that logically, that’s where the full coverage would be.

        Channel 4 had full rights prior to this year, hence why coverage was better then.

        1. @jehannes I don’t agree completely. Yes, money can promote an unworthy driver sooner. But no truly talented driver is ever held back by money. We’ve got plenty of examples on the grid right now.

          Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Esteban Ocon, Seb Vettel… all came from working class families and all made it because their talent was so obvious that sponsors came.

          If anything, I suspect that if it came down to two equally talented drivers of diffrent genders, the woman would be more likely to get the sponsorship because well, marketing would be spectacular

          1. I didn’t say unworthy drivers.

            Just that (much) money is always needed.
            And those that you name are all male aren’t they.

            If you read the bias of some because females compete in a seperate class in formula cars.
            Don’t see the outcry about tennis or footbal (soccer) etc etc
            Not saying you belong to those.

          2. Money, or a lack thereof, is not the problem pretty evidently. The W Series drivers have had £7.5m at least wasted on them.

            Contrary to the popular myth that they don’t progress because they lack the funds, they don’t progress because they aren’t good enough. Wasting £millions more achieve anything other than perhaps another single season in a higher series before they get dropped due to poor performance would not be a good thing. It appears that only male drivers aren’t good enough, female drivers always ‘lack investment’ apparently.

            The thing is, Jamie Chadwick has never lacked investment and has numerous opportunities yet she gets beaten by drivers with only a fraction of what she has. They have been racing for fewer years, haven’t had the lavish upbringing she has had.

            Those he named all succeeded at lower levels, had they performed the as poorly as the W Series drivers do they would never have been heard of let alone be the F1 megastars they are. They succeeded because they had the talent not because they are male.

  2. W Series is a COMPLETE FLOP, it was clear that their was budget concerns when they conclude the Japanese round at Suzuka for bogus “logistical reasons”. F2 is profitable and they don’t travel to East asia or the Americas anymore because Bruno Michel is cheap and wants save money so W series burning MORE cash travelling around the would never made any financial sense

    I wish we could cut the bs and admit the series is a joke, a national F4 tier series with boring slow 200 kW cars should never be on the same stage as F1, it is more suited to being a being a regional series to keep costs down.

  3. petebaldwin (@)
    3rd October 2022, 11:50

    The big mistake they’ve made with this is going too big, too fast. There is a place for a series that is all women as they are massively under-represented from karting level up but instead of focussing on doing a big international series following F1 around the globe, they’d be better off running a series in somewhere like America or Europe where travelling costs would be dramatically reduced. I doubt it would massively affect the number of people watching or the drivers willing to be involved.

    There’s also nothing to set this series apart from all the others except for the fact that they are women. I don’t personally like Formula E but lots do and they’ve gone to extreme lengths to be different to the rest. I don’t want another gimmick-filled series personally but at the moment, W Series are asking people to tune in to watch something that isn’t unique or exciting – the fact that someone can dominate the series but not find a seat anywhere else afterwards means it doesn’t really matter who wins. It all feels like it’s lacking direction and focus.

    1. There is a place for a series that is all women

      I would argue that W Series failing to put together a field of 20 (now 18) even reasonably competitive drivers from a generation+ of racers would indicate the opposite.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        3rd October 2022, 15:41

        For me, the whole point of W Series should be to attract more girls into motorsport. A lack of talent therefore shows that the series even more necessary IMO.

        Once you’re at a point where there a loss of super-competitive girls who can get into F2 and F3, W Series won’t be required anymore.

      2. @proesterchen There are quite a few women who have developed beyond the remit of W Series, having established themselves in professional careers. Unfortunately, the structure and marketing of the series has been unhelpful to finding a useful niche within motorsport or meeting its cited aims. Given that it sprung from a failed attempt to set up a reality TV series, perhaps that was not surprising. But it is still disappointing, and I still think it has set backwards the cause of women racing in single-seaters.

    2. @petebaldwin I don’t agree they went too big too fast. On the contrary. They kept it under wraps for way too long.

      Look, I agree they should have kept it to European races. But they had that in the first season too, and it didn’t get them much attention.

      Where it’s gone wrong, in my opinion, is that it was a half hearted approach from the start. They promoted the series and made a big hurrah, but then for people who actually wanted to watch it it was made too difficult. Some highlights on the F1 YouTube channel, that’s not going to cut it.
      Like they wanted to promote the women, but kept the racing under wraps. You don’t create an audience that way and you don’t garner interest.

      What it should have been from the beginning? They should’ve been on the F1 support programme together with F2 and F3. Just a smaller calendar, a selection of the European races.
      Secondly, they should’ve included the W Series I. F1TV. Create an audience. Create engagement.

      I’m not sure it would’ve been a success either way, but at least they would’ve given it a proper try.

      By the way, I also don’t agree with the statement that because the dominant winner can’t find a seat, it doesn’t matter who wins. Because I think that statement is flawed to begin with.
      First of all because it has been reported that there were options for Chadwick in F3 – but likely not the very top seats and so she elected not to step up.
      And secondly it would matter who wins if the driver field would be of a high standard. That dominant winner does not have a standout resume outside of the series she dominates – and that is why the top teams in F3 are not in line to offer her a seat.

  4. Farewell, Formula W. Successful only at proving a lack of talent in their specifically gender-discriminating part of motorsports.

    1. You know that the all female team came second in class at both the last two world endurance championship events? Lead almost entire Monza race but came second after an unfortunate safety car? W series might not be the answer but please hold back on your generalisations.

      1. I am not trying to provoke anyone because you are right and the comment above yours is a little spiteful, but the female drivers who are super competitive in the World Endurance Championship do/did not need to be in the W series. Sarah Bovy, Michelle Gatting and Rahel Frey showed that females could be as competitive in racing no matter the gender of participants, win or get on podium race after race. You could argue that Iron Lynx was more successful to inspire younger generations than the W series. Therefore I partly understand the struggle of where W series lands amongst motorsport fans like Proesterchen.

    2. @proesterchen Misogyny is a as vile as racism. Perhaps you should think about this before you post your vile comments!

      There are some very good drivers in W Series, of which, if you could be bothered to put your vile viewpoints aside, you could see!

      Sadly relics like you are the reason for the need of All female series as your blinkered perspective would prevent you from seeing female race drivers fairly. They would need to be head and shoulders the best in the field for them to even have you acknowledge they have ability!

      1. You know what’s vile? Calling someone names because you cannot attack their argument.

        The spread of talent in the tiny W Series field of just 18 drivers is already apparent, so even if one were to suppose that Jamie Chadwick, who unquestionably dominated this series throughout its existence, was a Senna-, Schumacher-, a Vettel-, a Hamilton- or Verstappen-level talent that somehow got overlooked by every single junior program and every manager or wealthy enthusiast just waiting for a generational talent, any generational talent, to come onto the scene, to the point where she is 24 years old and has never competed successfully in above Formula-4-level machinery, that would still spell doom for most of the rest of the field in terms of competitiveness.

        But she’s not. Which means that W Series, in restricting its driver pool to a specific gender, only managed to show just how shallow that talent pool really is.

      2. Where is the misogyny exactly? When the best driver out of the bunch ended up at the back of the field in a series when she raced against men/boys that were younger & less experienced than her there is a pretty evident quality issue. She competed in a series in which they were 9 full time drivers and finished the season in 9th, being beaten by two drivers that did less than half of the season and the two drivers she beat haven’t been given opportunities to move up as you would expect from drivers that finish at the bottom end of grid. I wonder what the difference between them & Chadwick is that she deserves further opportunities & they don’t, hum?

        99% of the W Series grid would get smoked by F4 drivers. Had they been male drivers they would have been regarded as not good enough, the sexism here is coming from you by treating them differently because they’re women.

        I see you went for the tactic of attacking the person making the point because you can’t argue against the point itself. That is always the sign of someone who has confidence in the opinion.

  5. There are times, and now is one of them, when I wish this site had remained F1Fanatic.

    Really, how many people care about any other series?

    I am short enough on time that even watching every F1 qualifying and race session is hard to justify.

    1. If you are pressed for time or uninterested, @nvherman, it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to ascertain from article titles which ones are F1 related. Your comment makes absolutely no sense to me; how can a tiny bit of sifting be annoying? If you are not interested, then so be it. I am interested; in F2, F3 and W Series. The added content is very welcome.

    2. Well, there’s people who could equally say they care only about Indycar, etc.

    3. I also care about IndyCar which is sometimes covered.

      Majority of articles on this website also focus on F1 so I don’t see it as a problem.

    4. So the fact that there are extra articles about other categories constitutes a masive waste of time for you? Is it the extra scrolling? The additional fration of a second to look past a headline you’re not interested in?

    5. Leonard ‘Big Lenny’ Persin (@)
      3rd October 2022, 22:26

      Keith got too greedy

  6. Given I’d much rather prefer to watch W Series than the gimmicky and dreadfully dull Formula E any time, I do hope they find the funds to continue.

  7. Proud_Asturian
    3rd October 2022, 12:44

    Oh no! Anyway…

  8. Maybe, just maybe that women are not as interested and sponsors are not as invested as we were led to believe in a female series. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    Girls have a fair shot to come through karting series IF they are good enough and even bothered, there is no need for this fake, forced privilege. In fact, it’s a bit insulting for everyone involved.

    1. Girls have a fair shot to come through karting series IF they are good enough and even bothered

      Yeah, no. Most girls, children from underprivileged and underrepresented households etc don’t even get a chance to consider karting as an option.

      1. Privileged and well-of people have daughters, too.

        Though you can find most of them riding around on a single HP because apparently, that’s the done thing even if they are speed demons at heart.

      2. well if your goal is getting more women involved in motorsports, Karting is the place to start. you could get 10x the girls into Karting. Host workshops for girls (say age ~5-10) with little to no experience and funding and support for the ones that show promise. I bet you could even get all the F1 driver academies involved. Keep this program neutral, but make it a goal not to get girls into F1, just to get girls into one of the driver academies and onto F4

        The W series is nothing more than virtue signaling and it’s a failure not because girls can’t race but because all they did was find girls that aren’t good enough to compete at that level, if any of them had been good enough they would have been in F3 proving it.

    2. There is massive appetite for sponsors to feature a talented woman in top categories. Hell, look at the absolutely mediocre talent that has made it to the ranks of F1. Tatiana Calderon, Susie Wolf, Maria de Villota (RIP), Carmen Jordá… That latter being used largely because she’s pretty and made for good photoshoots.

      If a truly talented and promising youg woman is available, there will be a row of sponsors eager to get in on the action.

      What about Jamie Chadwick? I don’t know. It’s a bit of a mystery to me. I’d guess she doesn’t have very good management. Because I suspect Jamie is more talented than any of those women I mentioned

      1. Don’t knock Jamie’s management. They turned a now-24-year-old that has never competed successfully beyond Formula-4-level machinery into a multiple Champion with name recognition widely beyond what her performances would have warranted.

        If she handles this right, she can cost on this for the next decade or two.

      2. @ajpennypacker Jamie had a sponsor who was willing to fund her to F1, or at least try… …until COVID reared its ugly head.

  9. Lawrence Stroll, Dmitry Mazepin, Michael Schumacher, Jos Verstappen, etc etc all have daughters, why have they not been placed in the ladder systems as their sons have? It’s fair to say that if they wanted to that their parents certainly had the wherewithal to make it happen. Is there something wrong with saying that as a percentage far fewer young girls are interested in competing in motorsports? What’s wrong with that? The existing ladder series is open to all genders. This is a matter of funding based on the raw numbers. Very few watch the W series and more importantly the grass roots interest is not there. Not everything needs to be a thing.

    1. Spencer, good point, but keep in mind as well that parental biases also influence what the offspring pursue. It may well be that a rich father thinks his son should be a racing driver, like he was or always wanted to be, but he thinks his daughter should be an actress or something, and steer them in that direction.

      1. Biases factor into everything in life. Maybe their sons would’ve been champion equestrians had they not been eased into racing? These are all assumptions without any basis. Why do “we” care? I think it’s still possible to choose how to raise one’s children?

        Quite simply the W series not a viable business. Until someone or an entity steps up and says we are essentially donating the funding, (i.e. WNBA) it doesn’t work. 0 return on advertising investment.

  10. I wish them well and hope they find the funding. However, I find the idea of a women only series pointless and counter intuitive. Motorsport is one of the very few sports where men and women can compete against each other and what they’ve done is create segregation. I understand the argument, however I think it’s the wrong way to attract more girls into grass roots motorsport. Start at karting meetings and make it attractive and accessible.
    And lets face it, plenty of no talent wannabees have made it into F1 on the back of a massive contribution to a team budget…forget W Series and throw all the money behind a female driver to get them in…it’s worked for plenty of fellas. Nothing would please me more than to see a female competing and succeeding in F1…there’s no logical reason why they can’t, it’s all about the funding.

    1. This is that next step, no seats in F3 and F2 for this field.
      Jamie only came into view because of her championship and winnings.

      1. @jehannes And because she had the funds to do F3 before W Series… …but was persuaded to do W Series instead, which may have cost her any chance of the F3.

  11. I read of the series’ financial difficulties before the weekend, but was somewhat shocked to learn of the drastically reduced broadcast offering this weekend. No on-screen presentation and the sole pre-qualifying material was a short interview with Naomi Schiff (who was there with Sky anyway) and one of the drivers.

    It could be the switch from Suzuka to Singapore was because the Singapore promoters were willing to help out, but Suzuka couldn’t/wouldn’t? Singapore was announced back in July – maybe the problems became evident at that time.

    I’ve enjoyed the W Series races I’ve seen the past couple of years. Like A1GP, would be sad if the series did stop doing business.

  12. I would be happy to see it continue. It adds an opportunity for some to race, who might otherwise not find somewhere to race. Why is that a bad thing?

    I really fail to understand some of the vitriol that formula W seems to provoke – it doesn’t take anything away from anybody, so how would things be better if it went away?

  13. Just a sense of male disregard in the comments.
    Exactly the reason W-series are needed.

    There is a large bias when it comes to female drivers.

    1. @jehannes there is a lot of positive bias towards female drivers, and those that are bringing in facts are often labeled misogynists.

      If you have any doubts on the positive bias, explain all the hurrahs about Chadwick and those wanting to see her in in F1 because “it can’t be worse than Latifi” when she has no decent junior resume to vouch for her (and any man with that kind of resume would be totally unknown by most even avid racing fans).

  14. I can’t believe F1 isn’t supporting the W series. My wife and daughters drive like demons when we go to the cart track. There is so much talk from these large corporations about how they support women but they don’t. The perfect example being ESPN. There are a bunch of ESPN channels but there isn’t an ESPN-W channel exclusively showing women’s sports. The do show a lot but have not dedicated a channel.

  15. Tiaki Porangi
    4th October 2022, 4:45

    Maybe I’m a typical F1 fan: watched F1 since I was about 16, listened to reports of the races on radio (thank you, BBC Sport!) with my old man for the 10 years before that, and as soon as the local tv service in my country began airing it, I was into it. I have watched most races since then on tv, with the occasional in-person race (Silverstone, Bahrain, Singapore, Melbourne, Sochi, and looking forward to Vegas baby!).
    I also absolutely love the WRC and SuperCars Series (Bathurst is this week! And it was lovely being up in Auckland to see Rovanpera absolutely fulfil his potential this past weekend – that kid will go far! @Keithcollantine how is it that WRC is not covered much on racefans dot net??) – so you can say I do like and enjoy motor racing.
    I cannot stand Formula E. I think it is too gimmicky and contrived and just isn’t serious enough. The whiny sounds that the cars make are really bizarre, too.
    I have not tried watching the W series. I lack interest, and the outright “females only” nature of the series is a turn-off for me. If there is a female driver who can hold her own – Simona de Silvestro class – then she should find a seat in F1 on merit, or on pocket-merit (like Latifi and other paying drivers) and go up against the best in the business.
    That said, you can see where this is going. At some point, the FIA will almost certainly mandate that teams must have a stake in a W series team – a bit like happens in New Zealand rugby – which will maybe drum up some interest in the W Series. At this point, I fail to see the point of it all: all the female motorsports fans I know – and they are a good number – watch F1 and avoid the W series.

  16. I’m not sure whose fault it is, but it is so insanely stupid that W Series isn’t shown on F1TV when they’re following F1 anyway.

  17. Surely by saying the formula is for females only it is being sexist,
    There needs to be a mix or you are just saying that they arent good enough for F4/F3 etc, and by it being mixed the fastest drivers will rise, sex is irrelevant if you are fast, you are fast,
    I understand that by having this W series they are highlighting female drivers, but its like saying we can drive but arent fast enough for other formula so had to start our own,
    99% of most top drivers are spotted in their karting days anyway, then sponsored from there, like Lewis who was mentioned earlier, Mclaren saw his talent from an early age, due to budgets all these females will have driven Karts yet havent been picked up,
    It has nothing to do with their sex, if a team thought wow this driver his fast they wouldn`t care about what genitals they have,
    So why havent they been picked up . . .
    Susie Wolffe (stoddart) is a great example, she was in BTCC for a short time, had the chance to shine but wasnt that great, then in a f1 car she had a few practice sessions, didnt shine and if anyone was going to get to that next step with who her husband is I think she would have.

    Any team would love a female Lewis Hamilton, all that natural talent, it would be awesome for their PR etc, yet none.

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