F1 and FIA should step in to help W Series – Hamilton

2022 United States Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton has called on Formula 1 and the FIA to help the struggling W Series after it cancelled the remaining races of its 2022 season.

The junior championship for female racing drivers was due to support F1 at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix. However last week the championship announced it had cancelled the event and the planned double-header in Mexico due to financial problems.

Hamilton, a passionate advocate for greater diversity in motorsport, was asked in yesterday’s FIA press conference at the Circuit of the Americas whether the sport’s governing body and F1 should help the championship continue. “100 per cent I do,” he said.

“There has not been enough focus on women in sport the whole of Formula 1’s life, and there’s not enough emphasis on it now,” he said.

“They’re not magnifying enough the great work that is being done there. There is not enough representation across the board, within the industry. And there’s not really a pathway for those young, amazing drivers to even get to Formula 1.

W Series began in 2019 but was forced into hiatus the following year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It returned last season, supporting F1 for the first time, but cut short its third season this year. Jamie Chadwick won all three championships.

Singapore appears to have been the last race for W Series
Hamilton said the series is needed to help promote women racers. Over 30 years have passed since the last time a woman attempted to qualify for an F1 race.

“You have some people who say we’re never going to see a female F1 driver ever,” said Hamilton. “So that’s not a good narrative to be putting out.

“I think we need to be doing more, and with the organisation, with Formula 1 and Liberty doing so well it’s not a lot for them to be able to help out in that space.”

The seven-times world champion founded the Hamilton Commission to examine why some groups are under-represented in motorsport and subsequently launched the Ignite charity in conjunction with his Mercedes team to promote diversity and inclusion in motorsport.

“In the work I’m trying to do with Mercedes for example, we’re trying to get like 8,000 young girls into the sport,” he said. “But every team should be doing that.”

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2022 United States Grand Prix

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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...
RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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20 comments on “F1 and FIA should step in to help W Series – Hamilton”

  1. Hamilton should invest his own money in the series like Caitlyn Jenner does

  2. W series is someone’s failed business venture.

    The FIA have absolutely no business saving these investors.

    Liberty probably have rather limited interest in bailing these investors out, either.

  3. He himself could have saved the series if it’s that important to him. He has enough money to do so.

    WTCR has just collapsed, Hamilton should be vocal about that also.

    There is a chance for women in motorsport, numerous WEC and ELMS drivers are women. There is also a woman in IndyCar. Many woman drivers are very much against the W series.

    1. “He himself could have saved the series if it’s that important to him.”

      It only took 2 comments for someone to say this


      1. It was to be expected, and based on your reply it crossed your mind as well ;) (same for me)

        And whilst I appreciate that he speaks up on behalf of W-series and others, it would be more powerful if he did it himself. Especially since he did invest in consortiums to offer on (and actually buy) sports franchises.

      2. It should have been the first comment! If he wasn’t prepared to use his own money to save it, then he cannot criticise anyone else for doing the same as he did.
        He can’t criticise someone else for not doing something he also did not do, but then we already know he is a massive ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ hypocrite.

  4. While I don’t think FIA and FOM should step into W Series, unless it’s to make it a F1 subseries with F1 teams fielding F1 cars driven by women. I think the concept of an entire series for women to be ultimately flawed as it is right now, but perhaps as a F1 series where all the F1 teams run a car in perhaps a sprint race on Saturday, that would be interesting.

    Make the points count towards the WCC for teams, as well.

  5. Why should they be helped? It is clear not enough people are interested in the series to make it viable. Either produce a new business model based on lower spectator numbers or end it. Simple as that.

  6. How predictable, are the standard/biased reaction, none that help the changes for women in racing to be better.

    1. Agreed, @jehannes. What hope is there with these types of sentiments.

  7. Yet again, here we have the tax-evading, multi-multi millionaire, Sir Lewis Hamilton, telling the plebs how they need to do better and fix the world. Rejoice, dear plebs, for you have the opportunity of sparing the tax-evading, multi-multi millionaire, Sir Lewis Hamilton, from the burden of using his own Wealth, Power, and Privilege to start doing something about the world’s problems!

    F1 and FIA can best help the W Series, and the entire concept of Motorsport, by distancing themselves as far as possible from this discriminating series that only allows people of a certain gender participate.

    Formula 1 and it’s feeder series do not have a gender requirement. Women are free to race against men in all relevant series leading up to F1 that already exist, let a capable woman earn her place on the grid like any other F1 driver we have today.

    Alot of people are eager to tweet and post on social media positively about this discriminatory, and sexist, racing league. But when it comes down to sitting on the couch and dedicating free time to watch it, the W Series is failing because nobody cares about it enough to watch it for free, never mind putting it behind a subscription paywall and people paying for it.

  8. Hamilton probably means well, but labeling the participants as “amazing drivers” when the series is being dominated again and again by someone who looked at best mediocre in a full season of Formula Regional Europe is putting way too much pressure on them. The level in the W Series is pretty poor, but that’s not because they’re girls or young women. Every time you have to fill a field from a small selection of available talent you’re going to see this. Same thing with some participants at the FIFA World Cup, and that’s the world’s most popular sports, and one of the cheapest to get in to as well.

    There are currently good – arguably better than the W Series – initiatives to promote female participation in sportscars, with relative success in both the ELMS and WEC. More can and should be done, and then in time there will be someone among these female drivers who can make it into F1. But it might not come from the current generation. Again, not because they’re female, but because there aren’t yet enough professional female drivers to find those special talents. Most professional male drivers aren’t cut out to be F1 stars either, but there are enough of them around to find the few ones that are.

    1. Good, insightful comment.

      Personally, I don’t have much issue with Hamilton labelling the drivers as “amazing” — I suspect I would value that kind of encouragement. And especially in the context of the negativity and discussed chauvinism directed towards the series and its drivers, his comments are very welcome indeed. And I’d be wary of describing the series’ level as “poor” — it is what it is; it’s a lower rung on the ladder than the official F1 feeder series are, so it’s to be expected.

      All the same, I really appreciate the recognition you give to other initiatives and the fact you will get a relatively wide variety of abilities when selecting from an objectively more limited talent pool (in these early days of the series).

      1. The series is poor. That is a factual statement. Any other series with a grid as weak as W Series would get regarded as weak, it features drivers yet to even drive at F4 level, drivers that did F4 & finished towards the back, a middling British F4 driver, a F3 Regional backmarker and 2 GP3 rejects.

        When the best driver in the series that dominates in almost every weekend gets embarrassed in a very weak FREC grid, there is no way you can describe it as quality. I dare say that good F4 drivers would quickly & easily better them if they competed. Lower ladder series are expected to be lower quality, but W Series is even lower quality than that.

  9. Nothing is stopping him to go race there.

  10. One thing is saying women don’t have the level to race F1. Another thing is to level the play field for women, which are discriminated more often than not. What if the next Senna is a woman. How a raw talent can go up the ranks of a biased system? W series has a money problem, a system problem, a sporting problem. Women must be part of every series rather than setting a particular series with no reward at all. To me, the best solution possible is to add teams to existing series with female drivers, sponsored by FIA.

    1. What if the next Senna is a woman.

      Bad example. It’s not the Sennas you’re losing. If a kid with that background shows interest and talent, they’ll make it to the top regardless of gender.

      What W series supposed, but has ultimately failed to prove, is the existence of a group of talented, interested women who drive cars competitively but don’t have the family background to support them.

      Of course, roaming the planet for a generation+ of failed race drivers and putting them in F4-level machinery to be dominated by a somewhat talented woman in her mid-20s might not be the best way to prove that thesis.

  11. They should concentrate on grassroots initiatives to try and get girls interested in karting, if anything. Instead of taking on the world’s only exclusionary racing series.

  12. Broadcasting it on more plqtfprms, like f1tv, wouldve helped massively

  13. Most girls on average are not interested in racing cars and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    We don’t try and force boys into ballet or netball because they are not represented at the highest level do we?…

    A talented girl karter will make it and have even more opportunities due to her female privilege ie much more female sponsorship offers.

    So just let it be. The path to F1 is open to everyone if they have enough talent (and money)

    Giving inflated legups to females simply because of their gender (to tick boxes) just means overlooked underprivileged boys may miss out. Is that just?

Comments are closed.