The W Series will try to race in the United States and Mexico again in 2021 alongside the Formula 1 races following the cancellation of this year’s championship.
2020 was set to be the second season for the all-female championship and it had looked to expand by ending its schedule in the US and Mexico, but was forced to cancel all of its races due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then it has been confirmed that the category will be a support race for F1, and as part of an eight-race calendar a return to Austin and Mexico City has been announced.
“The prospect of seeing W Series race alongside Formula 1, the world’s premier motor racing series, has become even more tantalizing as a result of today’s announcement of our 2021 race calendar,” W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir said. “The eight races will allow our fast and fearless female racing drivers to showcase their skills on some of the world’s most iconic racing circuits, in Europe and the Americas, and literally follow in the tyre tracks of the greatest racing drivers in the world today.
“W Series’ mission will always be to further the interests and prospects of female racing drivers, and to inspire girls and women everywhere. Our 2021 race schedule in partnership with Formula 1 will significantly increase our global reach, impact and influence by placing W Series on motor racing’s greatest stage and taking us to new audiences and territories. Our drivers are ready and raring to race and entertain, and the 2021 season curtain-raiser in France next June cannot come soon enough.”
Staring at Paul Ricard, the season also includes races in Austria, Britain, Hungary, Belgium and Zandvoort before heading to the Americas, and Formula 1 managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn says specific circuits were chosen to help provide a test for the drivers.
“We are delighted to announce the eight Formula 1 races that W Series will join in 2021,” Brawn said. “There is a really exciting mix of circuits that will showcase the exceptional talent of the drivers in the series. We believe that it is incredibly important to give everyone the chance to reach the highest levels of our sport, and partnering with W Series shows our determination and commitment to building greater diversity across Formula 1.”
RACER understands discussions were held with Saudi Arabia about a race in Jeddah but a race-hosting fee couldn’t be agreed.
“There are 23 great races on the 2021 Formula 1 calendar, all of them potentially attractive to W Series,” a W Series spokesperson said. “But we have chosen to race at only eight of those 23 Formula 1 venues in 2021. We may race at more than eight Formula 1 venues in 2022.
“We have no objection to racing in Saudi Arabia, provided we can establish a meaningful relationship. And, as W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir said when she was asked about the matter during a W Series media call on November 12th, such a meaningful relationship would take time to put together.
“All sorts of factors come together to make any deal, money of course among them, but the key thing for us is that we would need a meaningful relationship, as we have always made clear.”