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FIA F3 talking to W Series about how to bring graduating drivers in

by Craig Woollard

Photo: W Series

FIA Formula 3 could help W Series champions get test opportunities in its car in the future, says the championship’s chief executive officer Bruno Michel.

The head of F3 met up with his W Series counterpart Catherine Bond Muir when they shared Formula 1’s support paddock at the Austrian Grand Prix last month. They did so again at the Hungaroring, and will share it at four more grands prix.

W Series uses Tatuus’s Formula Regional chassis, which is around eight seconds per lap slower than the Dallara F3 2019 and is without the Drag Reduction System that FIA F3 has. Formula Scout asked Michel about his talks with W Series.

“I took the advantage of being with them in Austria, because we were really next door,” said Michel.

“To have some discussions with Catherine, the CEO of W Series, and to see how we can try to work together in the future because there are some very interesting drivers in W Series.

“The thing is that the scale of age, let’s put it that way, in W Series is much wider than it is for us in F3. Because they have drivers that go from 19 to 30, more or less, and F3 is from 16 to 22.

“What we discussed is that the idea is to use W Series to promote women drivers, to get them into F1. Of course, they have to come into the pyramid [to do that]. And everybody is completely aware of that and everybody understands that. We’re discussing the best way we can do that, maybe to help get in some testing in F3 for the winner.

“There are discussions in the air, becuase it’s very important that they are coming into the pyramid and not just racing by themselves, and Catherine is completely in agreement with that, so that is something that we are discussing, absolutely.”

W Series hands a sizeable $500,000 sum to its champion as prize money, but that is dwarfed by the cost of a full-time FIA F3 seat.

Bond Muir told Formula Scout last year that moving sideways to other FRegional series, as 2019 champion Jamie Chadwick did, would be an ideal landing spot for the next champion.