W Series launched in bid to help promote female F1 drivers

  • W Series launched in bid to help promote female F1 drivers

W Series launched in bid to help promote female F1 drivers

The champion will receive prize money of $500,000, with financial pay-outs down to 18th position in the standings.

'We believe that female and male racing drivers can and should compete on equal terms if they have the same opportunity and training, ' Coulthard told Sportsmail.

Racing fast cars needn't be the preserve of men, so a new all-female racing series aims to provide women drivers with a pathway back into F1.

Say a big hello to W Series, an all-new single-seater race series just for women. Future seasons will spread out to America and Asia.

W Series will start in 2019 and has been backed by major names in F1, including 13-time grand prix victor David Coulthard and Red Bull design engineer Adrian Newey.

"There has never been a female Formula 1 Grand Prix race victor, let alone a world champion", said CEO Catherine Bond Muir. Or does a separate, women-only series only serve to reinforce the current male dominance of motorsport more?

Spaniard Carmen Jorda caused a storm previous year when she advovated a women-only series on the grounds that they had a physical disadvantage and could not compete equally with men at the top level. 'Many sports in which women and men compete equally also run segregated events to increase the numbers of women who participate.

"In order to be a successful racing driver, you have to be skilled, determined, competitive, fearless and physically fit", he said.

"At the moment, women racing drivers tend to reach a "glass ceiling" at around the GP3/Formula 3 level on their learning curve, often as a result of a lack of funding rather than a lack of talent", says Coulthard. "And that's why I'm so pleased to be involved in W Series, to do what I can to contribute to creating a platform on which women drivers can improve by racing one another and from which they may then springboard their careers forward and, yes, ultimately race and indeed eventually beat their male counterparts".

Former McLaren and Renault driver Kevin Magnussen, now with Haas, expressed support in a quote provided by the series organisers.

'For the record, I stand WITH those who feel forced into this as their only opportunity to race. "But there weren't many of them; a lot more boys than girls go karting and that's a fact", said the Dane.

Free to enter, although drivers will be selected on merit by organisers, the field will consist of 18-20 cars and is expected to feature drivers like Jamie Chadwick, who made history this year after becoming the first woman to win a British Formula Three race.

"Women in motorsport are something of a rarity today, but with W Series as a catalyst we hope to transform the diversity of the sport - and perhaps even encourage more girls into professions they had not previously considered".

No woman has scored a point in Formula One, although Italian Lella Lombardi scored a half point in the shortened 1975 Spanish Grand Prix, and only two have started races since the championship began in 1950.