W Series cancels Austin and Mexico races; Chadwick champion

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W Series cancels Austin and Mexico races; Chadwick champion

International Racing

W Series cancels Austin and Mexico races; Chadwick champion


The W Series has curtailed its season ahead of the final two rounds in Austin and Mexico due to financial concerns, resulting in Jamie Chadwick winning her third straight championship.

The all-female championship that races on the undercard of Formula 1 events had publicly addressed its difficulties at its last round in Singapore, where Chadwick could have won the title but crashed out trying to progress through the field. A major shortfall caused by the failure of an investor to provide its contracted funds led to the situation, and the series has now confirmed it is ending the season early to focus on being able to continue in 2023.

“Since we spoke when we were in Singapore, I said that we were speaking to a number of people and we have continued those discussions,” CEO Catherine Bond Muir said. “We’ve had offers from a number of people, but the problem is getting money in doesn’t happen at the shake of a money tree, and people have got to go through due diligence.

“So we believed up until this weekend, there was a possibility for us to get to Austin, and we’ve just had to call it, because obviously there are deadlines on payments and things that need to be done. So we could have kept it on for a couple of weeks, but we just had to make a pragmatic call today.

“And going forward, the big message is that I am extremely confident that W Series will be here next year, which I hope you will all be happy about.”

The decision to end the season early sees Chadwick crowned champion before an expected move to Indy Lights next year, and Bond Muir says the intention is to ensure all drivers receive their full prize money despite the current situation.

While Chadwick is entitled to $500,000 as the champion, second-placed Beitske Visser is due $250,000 and Alice Powell $125,000 for third, with all drivers meant to receive cash prizes from the series.

“Under our regulations, to have a completed championship, we need six races. We’ve had seven races. So Jamie is now the de facto champion,” Bond Muir said. “And obviously, I am just tagging along on F1’s coattails about the strange and unexpected finishes to championships! You will note I’m trying to retain a sense of humor…

“Where I sit at the moment, it is my expectation that (the prize money) will be paid out. I can’t say 100% until the money plus everything else and the working capital for the business going forward (is secure), but where I stand at the moment, I don’t see any reason why that won’t be the case.”

Bond Muir was keen to praise the FIA for its support, while admitting F1 and the race promoters in the United States and Mexico were disappointed at the development.

“Singapore, for me personally, was extremely mixed,” she said. “I hardly slept, but not for the right reasons as in I wasn’t stuck in a party. I was working all night basically – I was dealing with the UK at the first half of the night, and then the U.S. and speaking to potential investors from there. So it sort of went away in a blur on one hand.

“I came straight from the U.S. having realized this funding had fallen over, straight into Singapore, straight into the fact that this had become public. So it was really tough on one hand.

“But on the other, I just couldn’t believe the support that we received from people in the F1 paddock. I had people coming up to me who didn’t know me expressing support, especially a lot of women, saying how important they believe that W Series is and wishing me luck for the future. And generally, the support that we’ve received has been pretty stunning.

“I think I said in Singapore how supportive the FIA has been. They have continued their support. However much you’re going to criticize them about yesterday and however much you may criticize them about the much less important (cost cap) announcement, from my point of view, they’ve been faultless.”