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W Series announces 2021 F1 partnership

by Craig Woollard

Photo: LAT Images

W Series has announced it will hold eight races on Formula 1’s support bill when it returns next year.

The all-female regional Formula 3 series ran exclusively in the DTM paddock for its inaugural 2019 season, and was due to expand into also supporting F1 twice this year before deciding to cancel its season during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It had previously stated that it is aiming for up to 10 races for 2021, and with no indication on how many grands prix its F1 support slots are spread over it could also be racing elsewhere.

DTM boss Gerhard Berger said last week that he hopes his series’ ’21 calendar is “attractive” for W Series.

“After such a successful inaugural season, we at W Series are absolutely delighted to be partnering with Formula 1 for 2021 and beyond,” said W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir.

“F1 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 F1 was always our ultimate objective. There is no doubt that, now that W Series will be run alongside and in collaboration with F1, 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.”

Hitech GP has not yet been contracted to continue to run the grid of Tatuus T-318 cars, after doing so in 2019.

“But we also want it to become a crucial default option stepping stone for any female racing driver who wants to carve out a professional racing career, and our proximity to F1 will help and enhance that process. The fact that W Series is now eligible for FIA superlicence 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 prioritising diversity and inclusion in this way, and we intend to help them drive forwards their excellent #WeRaceAsOne programme this year and in years to come.”

F1’s managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn added: “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.

“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 F1 next season shows our determination and commitment to showcasing their exciting series and the importance of building greater diversity across the sport.”