The all-female W Series will become a support championship on the Formula 1 calendar from next season.
After a successful inaugural season in 2019, W Series was set to support F1 in the United States and Mexico this year before having to cancel its entire schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In announcing its 2021 plans, the series will now race entirely on the F1 program, as a support event at eight rounds that have yet to be finalized.
“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,” F1’s managing director of motor sport Ross Brawn said.
“It is a really important moment for us to welcome W Series as partners for eight races this season. 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.”
W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir says it was always her target to get the series on the F1 support card, in order to increase its reach and impact, but also feels the partnership helps the sport’s #WeRaceAsOne campaign.
“After such a successful inaugural season , we at W Series are absolutely delighted to be partnering with Formula 1 for 2021 and beyond,” Bond Muir said.
“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 steppingstone 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 License points will also be an important factor in that regard.
“We are very grateful to Chase Carey, Ross Brawn and their colleagues for having faith in W Series, and for prioritizing diversity and inclusion in this way, and we intend to help them drive forwards their excellent #WeRaceAsOne program this year and in years to come.”