W Series, the world's first and only single-seater series for female drivers, will support eight rounds of the 2021 Formula 1 season.
W Series, which launched in 2019, was created to highlight female motorsport talent and give drivers an opportunity to race and be seen on a wider stage. W Series becoming a support series to F1 puts the championship in front of an even larger audience, and the drivers right under the noses of the F1 team bosses.
Although the race schedule is yet to be confirmed, W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir has said she is “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.”
Although the 2020 season had to be called off due to the coronavirus pandemic, the six-round 2019 season proved popular with the drivers and fans alike. The inaugural season crown went to Jamie Chadwick, who has since taken up a role as a development driver for Williams F1.
"It is a really important moment for us to welcome W Series as partners for eight races this season,” said Formula 1's Managing Director of Motorsport Ross Brawn. “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 1 next season shows our determination and commitment to showcase their exciting series and the importance of building greater diversity across the sport."