Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

All-systems go for all-female 'W series'

All-systems go for all-female 'W series'

W Series will host six races around Europe, including one round in the United Kingdom, with 20 of the world's leading female racing drivers to compete for a $1.5m (£1.14m) prize fund. In forthcoming seasons, the W Series schedule is set to expand to include races in America, Asia and Australia.

To help encourage even more racers to participate, entry into the series will be completely free - though the drivers will need to pass a "rigorous" assessment programme before they're able to compete.

"In order to be a successful racing driver, you have to be skilled, determined, competitive, fearless and physically fit, but you don't have to be a man".

Named the W Series, it aims to narrow the gap between men and women in motorsport and push more female drivers towards the upper echelons of Formula 1.

However, Coulthard said that women tended to reach a glass ceiling at F3 level, often due to a lack of funding, and needed help.

A new all-female racing series has been launched, supported by former grand prix driver David Coulthard and top designer Adrian Newey, with the aim of helping women racers get to Formula One.

The W Series has yet to announce any venues but says it is targeting European circuits, "most of which" have staged Formula One races.

But Coulthard denied that the W Series would lead to segregation, and said he wanted to see female drivers given a chance to break through now without having to wait for a generation for things to change.

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"Those with funding to help female racers are choosing to segregate them as opposed to supporting them", she said on Twitter. The overall victor will collect $500,000.

"The last woman to start a Formula 1 Grand Prix was Lella Lombardi more than 40 years ago, and there has never been a female Formula 1 Grand Prix race victor, let alone a world champion". Instead, the series insisted drivers will compete at some of the same locations where F1 stages races.

It has been more than 40 years since a woman driver entered a Formula One race, when Italian Lella Lombardi took to the starting grid at the 1976 Austrian Grand Prix.

Just 12 months next year it is planned to hold six races.

On Wednesday it was announced a new Formula 3 level championship would be created with the sole goal of hosting female talent on the grid in order to increase the level of women in motorsport at the top level.

Dave Ryan, former McLaren team manager, has been appointed the racing director, while the chief executive is lawyer and corporate finance banker Catherine Bond Muir.

The first W Series vehicle is a Formula 3 auto.

The series has been backed by Tatiana Calderon, Sauber's test and development driver, as well as GP3 racer and Jamie Chadwick, who recently became the first female race victor in British Formula 3. Much like Formula 1, the cars will also be equipped with a Halo safety device.

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