A new single-seater championship exclusively for female drivers has been launched and it's splitting opinions across the motorsport world
Called the W Series, this new championship aims to help female participation in motorsport by addressing the bottleneck in opportunities at the F3 level of the motorsport ladder, where funding often starts to dry up. It’s doing this by making the series completely free to enter - applicants will be put through various tests such as on-track testing, simulator appraisals, fitness trials and technical and engineering tests, among other things. The 20 best will go on to not only compete in the series, but will also have access to an expert training programme (with the likes of David Coulthard and Adrian Newey being involved) where the drivers can develop and hone their skills.
The first season aims to begin in the spring of 2019, with drivers competing over six rounds throughout Europe (further seasons are aiming to have races globally) in Tatuus Formula 3 machinery. There’s a $1.5 million prize fund on offer, too, with the champion receiving $500,000 and the rest being distributed among the rest of the grid, down to 18th place.
The series’ intention is not to segregate women from competing against men, a statement reading:
“At the heart of W Series’ DNA is the firm belief that women can compete equally with men in motorsport. However, an all-female series is essential in order to force greater female participation. W Series is therefore a mission-driven competition, the aim of which is not only to provide exciting racing for spectators and viewers on a global scale, but also to equip its drivers with the experience and expertise with which they may progress their careers, racing and honing their skills in W Series before eventually graduating to existing high-level mainstream racing series.”
Opinions of this new series seem to be very much split, with many motorsport personalities and existing female racing drivers taking to Twitter to offer their thoughts on this new championship. Some are in favour of it:
However, not everyone is quite so enthused by the idea, feeling that it’s a step backward for equality in motorsport:
Do you think the launch of W Series is a positive move for women in motorsport, or a potentially damaging one? Let us know in the comments.