David Coulthard has criticised companies for failing to “put their money where their mouth is” after the collapse of the W Series.
The future of the W Series is unknown with the competition being curtailed early in 2022 and yet to start or announce any plans for 2023 and beyond.
The series was designed as a stepping stone for female drivers to move up the ladder and potentially become the first female driver in F1 for 47 years. The series provided the drivers with the funds to compete and also a significant prize pot but it ultimately ran into financial difficulties leading to its shortened 2022 season.
Formula 1 has since made its own women-only series in the F1 Academy but critics have pointed out that with the series not being live broadcast anywhere, F1 has failed to give the new series and the drivers the platform they need to push on.
In terms of the W Series, Coulthard was critical of the companies who are all too happy to say the right thing when it comes to diversity but evidently were not willing to “put their money where their mouth is.”
“On W series, I was involved in helping support the founders and what was disappointing for me, after all of their efforts and all of their blood, sweat and tears and financial investment, was a lot of companies that invest in motorsport currently talk about diversity and inclusion but actually, all that means as they talk about it,” he said on his Formula For Success podcast.
“For now, it looks like that chapter has closed but the legacy will be the likes of Jamie Chadwick and Naomi Schiff.”
Coulthard did also say that while he was sad to see the W Series run into trouble, he was confident that there would be a female F1 driver in the next 10 years.
“[W Seres] was trying to eliminate the need for women in motorsport to find the funding, which is more difficult for them, because historically, they’ve not had the same success,” the 13-time race winner said.
“It brought them to the public’s attention by being on the undercard to Formula 1 and I think there’s several examples of people that are now household names that weren’t known before. So in that regard, it’s been a success.
“I’m also involved in a foundation called More than Equal and we’ve got some brilliant team members that are behind putting together the most extensive study into the thoughts of the fans, the young girls out there in karting that have got potential to develop the skills and racing.
“So I’m going to sum it up by saying that I believe in the next 10 years, if not before, we will have a worthy woman racing in Formula 1 because it’s about creating opportunity and developing their skills in the same way that a Max [Verstappen] or a Lewis [Hamilton did].”