It has been confirmed that the all-female W Series will join Formula 1’s group of support races with eight events in 2021.
The series which started in 2019 was put on hold for 2020 due to the global pandemic, but the promise was made that the W Series would return bigger and better in 2021.
And that is what will happen with the category set to host eight events as part of Formula 1 race weekends for 2021 and beyond.
As quoted by Sky Sports, Catherine Bond Muir, W Series founder and chief executive, said: “After such a successful inaugural season , we at W Series are absolutely delighted to be partnering with Formula 1 for 2021 and beyond.
“Formula 1 is by some margin the world’s premier motor racing series, and, when we promised that W Series would be bigger and better in the future, partnering with Formula 1 was always our ultimate objective. There is no doubt that, now that W Series will be run alongside and in collaboration with Formula 1, our global reach, impact and influence will be increased significantly.
“Everything that made W Series so popular and successful in 2019 will remain. The cars will be identical, the racing will be close and competitive, and our mission will always be to further the interests and prospects of female racing drivers.
“We want W Series to entertain, and entertain it will. But we also want it to become a crucial default-option stepping stone for any female racing driver who wants to carve out a professional racing career, and our proximity to Formula 1 will help and enhance that process. The fact that W Series is now eligible for FIA Super Licence points will also be an important factor in that regard.”
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 12, 2020
Formula 1 has already published a draft 23-race calendar for 2021, though a slot remains vacant after the Vietnam Grand Prix was cancelled for the second year in a row.
F1’s managing director Ross Brawn is looking forward to welcoming the W Series onto the Formula 1 schedule and hopes it will indeed improve diversity within the sport.
“It is a really important moment for us to welcome W Series as partners for eight races this season,” he said.
“They have been a beacon to many since they began racing in 2019.
“We believe it is incredibly important to give everyone the chance to reach the highest levels of our sport and their partnership with Formula One next season shows our determination and commitment to showcase their exciting series and the importance of building greater diversity across the sport.”
Jamie Chadwick, winner of the first W Series title in 2019, is currently a part of the Williams driver programme.