Home Formula RegionalFRegional European Championship Eaton secures W Series seat as Garcia ruled out of FREC

Eaton secures W Series seat as Garcia ruled out of FREC

by Ida Wood

Photo: LAT Images

W Series has completed its grid for the 2022 season, retaining Abbie Eaton for a second season.

Eaton missed out on automatic qualification for a race seat by coming 13th in the standings, with the top eight guaranteed seats, although her efforts were hampered by missing the final race at Circuit of the Americas after breaking her back.

She has been recovering over winter and is now fit enough to return to racing, and takes the 18th seat which was set to be shared between W Series’ reserve drivers, only one of which is Ayla Agren. Megan Gilkes has also been offered a reserve role.

“To have another opportunity with W Series is what I’ve wanted ever since I broke my back six months ago, so I’m relieved that all my hard work has paid off,” said Eaton, whose best results in 2021 were two sixth places.

“I’m super excited to be back and hoping to get stronger as time goes on, but the tests and races I’ve done over the last few weeks have been promising and I’m looking forward to the first race in Miami.”

To recover from last October’s injury, Eaton has been having “physio three times a week, strength training three times a week, and rehab to try to rebuild strength around my back”, with her training routine only picking up in the last six weeks due to the severity of the injury.

Meanwhile fellow W Series driver Belen Garcia, who topped the Barcelona pre-season test, has had to drop her parallel part-time Formula Regional European Championship programme with G4 Racing at late notice.

On the eve of the Monza season opener, Garcia posted on social media: “Hi guys, for everyone asking I won’t be racing in FREC this year, it is a shame but this is [a side of] racing too”.

Garcia doubled up last year, coming 10th in W Series and doing four FREC rounds with G4. This year Juju Noda will embark on a dual FRegional programme including W Series, as she takes on the Austrian F3 Cup in a Tatuus T-318 car and may appear in FREC later in the season.

Her father Hideki Noda told Formula Scout she is also evaluating doing a third season in Danish Formula 4, where she has raced for the past two years, but nothing is decided yet.