W Series aims to return in 2023 on F1 support bill

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In the round-up: W Series ended its season early due to financial trouble, but is confident it can return in 2023.

In brief

W Series wants to keep F1 support status despite early season end

W Series announced on Monday the final two events of its 2022 season in North America would not take place due to financial concerns. But it is already talking of a 2023 comeback and its CEO Catherine Bond Muir still intends for the championship to continue to run in support of Formula 1 during grand prix weekends.

“Certainly we do want to still be on the F1 support bill, but obviously going forward, we need to be mindful of our costs,” she said. “It would be prudent to have more European races than we have and European races are somewhat of a scarcity with F1.”

Although W Series raced alongside F1’s other regular support series this year, it also picked up spots at events where Formula 2 and Formula 3 were not racing. With those series yet to reveal their 2023 calendars, there may be less space for W Series next year despite the F1 schedule expanding to 24 grands prix.

“We haven’t been told yet what races we have been offered. F1 come back to us and offer us certain races and then we go from there. The four European races that we had this year were the four European races that we were offered.”

AlphaTauri considered Red Bull’s F1 juniors before signing de Vries

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022
Lawson had practice outing for AlphaTauri at Spa
AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost says Red Bull’s junior drivers were considered to replace the departing Pierre Gasly next year before the team pursued IndyCar star Colton Herta and eventually settled on Nyck de Vries.

“All the Red Bull young drivers were taken into consideration,” Tost said. “There’s Liam Lawson, there’s [Ayumu] Iwasa, there’s [Dennis] Hauger in Formula 2, then [Isack] Hadjar in Formula 3, but they all still miss experience. They need to do another year or two in their categories and then we will see what the future will bring.”

The team’s strategy since being bought by Red Bull ahead of the 2006 season has been to promote the brand’s juniors into F1, and has rarely looked outside of that pool of talent when signing new drivers. However De Vries had no Red Bull affiliation before being signed and is already well established in professional motorsport, having won the Formula E championship last year.

Schumacher’s hard work “finally” paying off in car understanding

Mick Schumacher, Haas, Suzuka, 2022
Schumacher’s confidence has improved, says Komatsu
Haas’s trackside engineering director Ayao Komatsu says it has taken over a season-and-a-half for Mick Schumacher’s efforts in car understanding to be rewarded in improved form.

While the team’s form has fluctuated since Schumacher joined at the start of 2021, the Ferrari junior driver has also had inconsistent showings of pace.

“At Silverstone, he scored his first points in F1. That was huge pressure off him and he followed up with that performance in Spielberg, so the confidence is there,” Komatsu said.

“And then the understanding of the car. He’s a very hard worker, he always sits with his engineers trying to understand what he’s done wrong, where he can improve on Friday night, in between FP1 and FP2. So he’s always working hard. So finally in a season-and-a-half, since his debut, it started paying off. Then that gives him confidence and that’s the positive cycle.”

After scoring his first points back-to-back in July, Schumacher has more consistently beaten team mate Kevin Magnussen although neither have scored in the last seven grands prix.

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Comment of the day

W Series has moved more of its coverage and media access behind paywalls since joining F1’s support bill, and now there will be no more races in 2022 to watch with the abrupt end to the season. Did the reduced visibility of the series harm its efforts to attract financial backing?

Really, as a fan of mainly F1, I have to wonder if better promotion and broadcasting and making these races more accessible would have helped the W series. If we take the last W series race at Singapore as an example, there is an edited highlights lasting one minute and 51 seconds. Seriously, couldn’t this be done better? I subscribe to the F1 TV website so I can watch the F1 races, but it wasn’t until I was doing research for this comment that I realised I had access to most of the race on F1 TV. Here the video is almost 23 minutes long, which covers a race that’s about 30 minutes long.

One thing which F1 TV could do better, and really they should do this better, is to make the W Series races more visible by putting a tab at the top of the home screen where they have tabs to help people find the videos related to F1, F2, and F3. Besides omitting the W Series, F1 TV also omits mention of the Porsche Mobile 1 Supercup and the ESports series. I suspect the placement of tabs for these other racing series’ adjacent to those for F1, F2, and F3 is pretty easy for those who administer the website.
Stephen Crowsen

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to F1Abw, Reh1V2.0 and Harvey Lorenzo!

On this day in motorsport

Jacques Villeneuve’s disqualification was good news for Michael Schumacher today in 1997
  • 25 years ago today points leader Jacques Villeneuve took pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix but was controversially disqualified for a yellow flag infringement

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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28 comments on “W Series aims to return in 2023 on F1 support bill”

  1. Good news for W Series!

  2. I still don’t see the point of this series, why do they have to make it global when there is no money?
    Keep it regional, save the transportation costs.
    Also, they should have a guaranteed seat in F3 for the winner of it, then you really push more diversity in the sport.

    1. Why would they, the W-Series is not a FIA championship, rather a private company running (out of money) themselves.
      And while F3 is a FIA sanctioned series, the FIA doesn’t run a team. They can’t place anybody anywhere.

      1. Because, if FIA wants to push diversity, that would be the only way to give sense to that competition.
        Personally, I don’t care that much who is driving, so I am not interested in a series like W-Series because of the level that is very mediocre. I really don’t understand why it should be interesting when the only “plus” is that under the helmet there is a girl. How does it add to the spectacle?

        1. if FIA wants to push diversity, that would be the only way to give sense to that competition.

          It’s not the FIA’s mandate to rescue someone else’s failed venture.

    2. So someone should be forced to hire a driver they didn’t want? I don’t want to live in such society. If they ever attract and develop real talents that will be recognized, but perhaps this championship is not the answer, with its current format and organization behind it. The only positive seems to be the idea itself, to promote female talents, but we’re not talking about the idea, but about the championship.

      1. Give them sponsors and they will find a seat, you will not need to “force” anyone.

  3. it should be called G-series. They are the sort of cars used by boys before they make it in to F3.

    Give the W-series V10s!

    1. It’d never happen – obviously. But if W Series isn’t under the FIA umbrella, then things like halos etc perhaps don’t apply?

      How many Renault 3.5 V8’s are sat under dust sheets in the back of warehouses that just need a bit of WD40? Or F3000’s? The last GP2 cars were 4L V8’s. Mechachrome probably have some V10’s lying about somewhere.

      They’d be cheap to maintain and interest would sky rocket I imagine.

      For a myriad of reasons it would never happen, it’s probably the third daftest thought I’ve had this morning- but I thought non the less.

      1. Getting a grid of 20 race cars all within a tenth or two of each other is a mammoth task, and that’d be made worse by higher performing engines with a dearth of spare parts and expertise.

        fully spec series don’t have a history of being particularly popular. Indycar, which is part spec, largely lives of the past, where it wasn’t single-chassis, a bit too.

        1. fully spec series don’t have a history of being particularly popular.

          That’s quite a bold – though somewhat inaccurate – statement.
          Apart from the fact that Indycar are seeing their highest viewing figures this season for 19 years (and think about how many other changes the series went through in that time), it’s a tenuous comparison as historically there weren’t many spec series.

          There aren’t many people who can lay and bake a carbon tub and aero package in their garage that is tested and guaranteed to meet the required minimum safety standards every series requires now (not to mention the FIA certification to prove it). Motorsport became so expensive and safety-conscious that the only way most can go racing now is in spec series using off-the-shelf hardware.

          While engineering buffs and car lovers lament the loss of open technical regulations – everyone who wants close, consistently high quality racing (sport) accepts that spec series are the only way to make that a reality in this day and age.

          F1 is the last mildly-open series left – and it too sees decreasing technical freedom every season for all the same reasons that all the other series moved to spec.

          1. Indy isn’t fully spec. It has different engine manufacturers and allows freedom with certain components like dampers. Also, in the grand scheme of things, Indycar is no where near as popular as F1. It’s a national racing series, with a particularly strong heritage (i.e Indy500 + years of full on competition). That makes it somewhat an outlier.

            Also, the notion that everyone wants close racing is backed up by what? Viewing figures? F1 dominates the landscape and the racing isn’t particularly close. What people seem to want is a good narrative. MotoGP, while having a bit of a blip (without Rossi and memorable protagonists… i.e the ‘narrative’), is fully fledged competition (for the most part), and is still the #1 bike racing series. I can’t think of any respected spec competition in bikes funnily enough.

            Just from a pure marketing perspective how many column inches in Racefans are written between races and seasons? Almost zero… compare to F1. There’s always a story, an update etc…

          2. Indy’s engines are homologated, just as Super Formula’s are. Competition between them is tightly regulated.
            Indycar will never be as ‘popular’ (and I use inverted commas for a reason) as F1 primarily because it doesn’t aim to be. It is a domestic series, and targets a domestic audience. F1, on the other hand, targets as large a population base as it can travel to – globally. For F1 to work with this concept as they do, it has to make its money in different ways and it has to make much more of it.

            I’d suggest that most people who watch circuit racing prefer close, competitive racing over ‘racing’ that resembles rally stage timing on a tarmac circuit. 20 second intervals between cars aren’t really attractive or enticing to this type of racing enthusiast.
            Last year was perhaps the perfect example. The only significant thing that changed last year over other F1 seasons was how close and competitive it was so consistently (even if only for the win).
            The ‘narrative’ is a product of the vastly superior on-track competition – it does not feed it. There’s no rivalry (for example) without close competition. There’s no story without it. The narrative is the on-track product.

            Of course you “can’t think of any respected competition in bikes” – you probably don’t watch them. They aren’t able to promote themselves as much, nor are they able to run a fully international calendar that directly reaches dozens of countries and potentially hundreds of millions of people…. You want to see the one that everyone is talking about. The one with the most money spent on it.
            Fortunately for us all, MotoGP does prioritise close competition in their administration and regulations in more ways than F1 does. A smaller team in MotoGP can buy the best bike, and use it to beat the team that spent tens of millions designing and developing it, for example.

            This site latches onto whatever is popular at the time in order to get clicks. Clicks mean potential advertising revenue. It’s business.
            Nobody will come here if they only put up results. There’d be no need for comments sections or a forum.
            People don’t want stories and updates instead of competition – they want them to complement it. The better the competition is, the better the stories are, and the more plentiful they can be.

            W-series shows us that you can have a great narrative, but when the on-track product is garbage, you’ve got nothing.

  4. Time for this nonsense era of forced token diversity and privilege to pass.

    F1 doesn’t need women, cars have traditionally been a male interest and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. We don’t look at netball and say “hey there really should be more men playing this sport!” Boys tend to like fast, loud action sports, girls less so, its all about the nature of our gender, our hormones, and again there’s nothing wrong with that.

    A talented female driver starting in karts will have more than enough support and sponsorship (likely even more than any single male) behind them to rise through the ranks. It’ll happen eventually and naturally, there’s simply no need to force it.

    If they want to support anybody, support ALL sexes and races at the ground level to have opportunities in karting. Thers just as much chance, maybe even more so, that a poor white kid from a council estate will never even get a chance to sit in a fair ground kart let alone a serious race series.

    Support everyone, from every background and the best will rise to the top. Unless of course its not about that (as suspected) and more about box ticking…..

    1. Yay, the All Lives Matter guy has signed on… 🙄

      1. Yeah, lets just right off this guy who’s making reasonable points by attacking his character with no evidence…

        1. When someone volunteers his thoughts on “this nonsense era of forced token diversity and privilege”, there’s little plausible deniability left on exactly where this person comes from ideologically.

          “No evidence”? Surely you’re joking.

          1. So you didn’t read past the first sentence then?

          2. @Josh

            My point is that if commenters tell you where they stand believe them. Don’t go around like @TristanIsolde pretending they didn’t and @optimaximal was just making stuff up.

    2. It is true that the biggest barrier to a motorsport career is money. Even for the vast majority of people in so called wealthy countries, financing a junior career is simply impossible.

      The FIA can alleviate this by creating a Young Talent Tax on its premier series. An extreme increase in the signup fee will allow the FIA to offer grants to young drivers the world over, boys and girls alike.

      1. Then all you do is push costs up the lower down you go, which have already been inflated because of F1 undue influence on karting. If the FIA has a grant system, then you must invest so much in a driver before they are on the ‘grant’ radar. The ‘problem’ is that people think motorsport can be ‘talent’ driven like other sports. It simply can not. Even sports like football are rife with issues surrounding this. And the politics of this would be absolutely horrendous.

        We also have a symbiosis of an engineering competition and a single competitor based one. If you want to focus on the latter, that’s at the cost of the former. And it’s the former that generates the money in the first place.

        But let’s take a look at the figures involved here. I could, in theory, sink 100,000 in a Cadet kart season. Now do that for 10,000 drivers worldwide. That’s £100,000,000 for one year. The costs get higher once you get into the junior categories. That’d a fair amount of cash, to generate what? 1 or 2 drivers per year (as this talent discovery concept is derived from F1 we only need this amount of ‘new’ drivers per year). Over a 10 year period this is a billion pound investment, with no real measurable return. There’s no real need right now because we have the prerequisite number of drivers per year that fill the criteria of being F1 ready. Getting more lower-income people racing makes little to no difference to the folks at F1 HQ.

        Of course the FIA do have the academy trophy which facilitates 50 or so drivers per year to race this one specific championship, but that is not immune to politics, and doesn’t really do much for a drivers career anyway.

        The problem with this whole thing is it’s overly F1-focussed. Focusing on F1 has done nothing but put cost up in categories where you want to encourage more competitors. F1 has caused huge damage to karting. People think F1 is more popular than ever… while kart clubs in the UK are struggling for entries.

    3. It seems that some here are in denial about the ‘forced diversity’ – and have to resort to name calling when it is noted. Why does it make them feel uncomfortable?

      W-series even has a ‘diversity ambassador’. Diversity in F1 gets labeled as including women, but diversity in W-series will have no men. So a black woman is given the role.

      As a spectacle W-series is, or has been, rather boring.

      In tennis at least you get to look at the legs and lipstick so men tune in as well. For motor racing – give them V10s. THAT would increase the viewership – and the ‘forced diversity’ could continue behind the visors.

  5. The FIA’s response was to state the bald facts that the use of a recovery vehicle behind the safety car is permitted in the rules. Oh, and to fine Gasly for speeding.

    Yes, this are farce. But this was happening in Japan. Again. So, either the local marshals are too quick and too efficient, or the local marshals are bunch of an idi*t.

    1. The FIA had a report produced after the Bianchi incident which included recommending having speed limits set and implemented for such occasions by a date which is now – seven years past due.

      The FIA are incompetent.

  6. Tost seemingly forgot to mention Daruvala.

    Re The Guardian headline: I doubt.

  7. “The FIA knew this was not the case but chose not to inform anyone” — well F1 put it on the TV feed several times; what else could they have done? Verstappen wasn’t going to be champion as things stood (Leclerc in P2) but F1 put the points that were going to be awarded onscreen. The media went into group-think mode, believing their collective interpretation of the sporting regulations, rather than actually reading them.

    1. @dang The points been put on the broadcast was because those at Biggin Hill knew full points were going to be awarded and were trying to get the message out.

      However most of the broadcasters and others in the media believed this had been done in error so continued pushing the other points systems.

  8. The reason W Series doesn’t have a more prominent position (Or Live coverage) on F1TV is because it isn’t an F1 owned series and the only deal in place is for FOM to produce the world-feed getting the F1TV highlights in return.

    They don’t have full ownership of the broadcast as they do for F1/F2/F3 & even Porsche Supercup because W Series has a deal in place with Whisper who I believe are who are in charge of the commercial rights & distribution of TV coverage.

    W Series essentially has the same sort of deal in place as the domestic categories that may act as F1 support for races that don’t feature F2/F3 or the Supercup (Australian Supercars for example). F1 will produce & provide them with TV coverage but they don’t have full ownership of it so won’t be able to use it without doing deals with the commercial rights owner to air it.

    Regarding the paywall. The original idea was for that not to be the case and the series wanted to air everything on Free platforms including online streaming on Youtube as well as Twitter, Facebook & other social media platforms where that was possible. However Sky stuck a bundle of cash under their noses and they took it, In part because Sky promised to help them with promotion which is why you have seen W Series mentioned on Sky’s F1 coverage more than even F2/F3 this year.

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