The W Series, the premier female racing league, is to take on a supporting role for two Formula 1 events in 2020, pushing the series further into the limelight.
The single-seater, female-only championship is still in its infancy, but already the emerging talent is such that the series has secured two new races in USA and Mexico this autumn. Held on consecutive weekends, the races will form a championship-deciding double header.
The USA race will take place at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, on Saturday October 24th – the day before the Formula 1 race – while the Mexico race will take place at Mexico City’s Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez on Saturday October 31st, again the day before the main event.
W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir said: “We at W Series are absolutely delighted that, in only our second season, our championship has been welcomed by Formula 1, and we’re utterly thrilled that the final two races of the 2020 W Series season will therefore take place as part of the Formula 1 platform.
“Our two all-new races will follow six races on the DTM platform, making a very varied, extremely exciting and truly international eight-race championship, in eight countries across the globe. I’m particularly pleased that W Series will now stage races outside Europe, and the USA and Mexico are of course both very important new territories for us.
“Interest in and enthusiasm for W Series was enormous in our first season, 2019, among media and fans alike, and the addition of two all-new W Series races on the Formula 1 platform will inevitably increase that enthusiasm and interest.
“A lot of work has gone into stitching the W Series/Formula 1 deal together, but above all I want to thank W Series’ drivers, the brave and talented young women who captured the imagination of the sporting world last summer. Mark my words: they’ll do so again this year, from May to October, all over the world.”
Why is the link between W Series and Formula 1 so important? Because the last female driver to score a point in the Formula 1 world championship was Lella Lombardi in 1975, and these two races will plonk the W Series talent right under the noses of 11 Formula 1 teams – the ultimate progression for any single-seater driver is, after all, Formula 1.
Ross Brawn, Formula 1’s Motorsport MD, added: “We are delighted to welcome W Series to two such spectacular events of the 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship such as those in Austin and Mexico City.
“In just one year, W Series has contributed significantly to increasing interest in the topic of diversity and inclusion in motorsport.
“We are convinced that our sport must offer equal opportunities for men and women to compete together – it is no coincidence that improving the diversity of the F1 grid by supporting and promoting driver talent from under-represented backgrounds is one of our strategic objectives.
“The ability for the great crowds who traditionally attend the Austin and Mexico City Grands Prix to see these talented female drivers up close will definitely further raise the awareness of the importance of inclusion and diversity in motorsport.”