W Series to support F1 races in 2021: A promising change for women in motorsports3 min read
Formula One is regarded as the pinnacle of motorsport and has given the world a long list of racing legends. However, there have rarely been female drivers at the top step of various single-seater racing series. A step in this direction witnesses motor racing heading towards a change with the announcement that the all-female racing championship, W Series will support Formula One at eight races in 2021.
Tracing back to their roots, Formula One also known as Formula 1 or F1 is the highest class of international single-seater auto racing which began in the 1950s. A Formula One season comprises a series of races, known as Grand Prix, which take place worldwide on purpose-built circuits and closed public roads. On the other hand, W Series started in 2019 with the aim of helping women progress up the motorsport ladder.
To date, there have only been five women racers to take part in the Formula One World Championship with the first-ever woman driver, Maria Teresa de Filippis participating in 1958. There have been many other women in the paddock, but their role has been limited to test drivers and development drivers. Lella Lombardi is the only woman to score points in an F1 race.
In other motorsports, an example closer home has been Aishwarya Pissay, who became the first-ever Indian to win a world title in 2019. The motorcycle racer lifted the FIM World Cup in the women’s category after the final round of the championship in Hungary. Like Pissay, women have done well in various other forms of motorsports, but their road to F1 has been tough where participation of women drivers has almost been nil.
Officially launched on 10 October 2018, the W Series was created in response to the lack of female drivers progressing to the highest levels of motorsport, particularly Formula 1. The W Series conducted its first series, an all-female Formula 3-level racing series in March 2019. Featuring 18 drivers from across the globe, the series comprised of 6 races in Europe. Britain’s Jamie Chadwick emerged as champion, becoming the winner of the first-ever all-women racing championship.
In a historic move for the field of racing, W Series and Formula One have come together to form a partnership.”We are excited to announce our 2021 season this week and look forward to a thrilling season with an exciting mix of new races and established circuits that we missed during our unprecedented 2020 season,” announced Ross Brawn, Managing Director at Formula 1.
“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 W Series will be run alongside and in collaboration with Formula 1. Our global reach, impact, and influence will be increased significantly,” said Catherine Bond Muir, W Series Chief Executive Officer. This initiative aims to encourage women to pursue their passion for racing and bring a global audience to female racing championships.
According to the provisional 2021 race calendar, support races at eight F1 Grands Prix will begin with the French GP in late June, take in rounds in Austria, the UK, Hungary, Belgium, the Netherlands, the USA, and finish in Mexico.
Featured Image Courtesy: W Series official website
Edited by: Bhavishya Mittal