W Series expands to eight races at Formula One meetings for 2021 season

W Series expands to eight races at Formula One meetings for 2021 season

The all-female W Series has announced the eight races it will hold at Formula One meetings next season. The full 2021 calendar for the championship aimed at promoting women in motorsport includes races at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone and the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, as well as rounds at the F1 meetings in Mexico and the US.

The W Series had to cancel the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic but they had intended to hold two races as support events at F1 meetings. The step up to having all eight races at F1 next year is a big advance in promoting the championship. The series, using single-seater F3 cars, covers all the costs of its drivers with the purpose of offering them the opportunity to improve their skills and gain exposure to allow them to advance further in the sport.

The provisional calendar is: 26 June – Le Castellet, France; 3 July – Spielberg, Austria; 17 July – Silverstone, UK; 31 July – Budapest, Hungary; 28 August – Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium; 4 September – Zandvoort, Netherlands; 23 October – Austin, USA; 30 October – Mexico City, Mexico.

“W Series’ mission will always be to further the interests and prospects of female racing drivers, and to inspire girls and women everywhere,” said the 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.”

The series, whose intent is to help promote a female driver into Formula One, held its inaugural season in 2019 which consisted of six races, all in Europe, as part of Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters meetings. It was considered a standout success. Britain’s Jamie Chadwick won the title and has since been taken on as development driver by the Williams F1 team.

The success of the first season has revitalised the careers of several drivers and enabled them to obtain the funding to continue racing. The series has also been recognised by the FIA in that it can award 15 super licence points to the winner. Forty points are required to qualify to drive in F1.

F1 has made a public commitment to increase diversity in the sport, including increasing the number of women involved in every capacity. Formula One has not had a woman driver since Lella Lombardi participated in the Austrian Grand Prix in 1976.

F1’s sporting director, Ross Brawn, welcomed the championship as part of the sport’s race weekends. “We believe that it is incredibly important to give everyone the chance to reach the highest levels of our sport,” he said.

“Partnering with W Series shows our determination and commitment to building greater diversity across Formula One.”