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W-Series: Coulthard backs new all-women racing series

October 11, 2018

Ex-Williams driver and all round nice guy David Coulthard is one of a number of high profile F1 stars to throw their weight behind W-Series: an all new women-only racing series.

W-Racing aims to help get women into Formula 1 with six 30-minute races over the course of the 2019 season, and will feature identical Formula 3 cars, owned and run by the series.

Free to participate, 20 women will be chosen from applicants based on a rigorous training, evaluation and performance programme, with testing aimed to ensure W-Series features a field of strong drivers.

The intention is to give women racing drivers a platform from which they can progress to other series, with the ultimate intention to have a driver from W-Racing progress to Formula 1.

The last woman to compete in an F1 Grand Prix was Lella Lombardi in the Austrian Grand Prix of 1976. Lombardi also once tried unsuccessfully to qualify a Frank Williams Racing Cars FW04 for the US Grand Prix in 1975.

Also involved in W-Racing are F1 Design guru Adrian Newey and journalist Matt Bishop.

The announcement was met with mixed reviews, with some observers claiming that it’s going to segregate women in a sport, and at a time where women drivers are striving to compete directly against men in a sport where they believe that brute strength isn’t a barrier to success.

They argue that the money spent in creating W-Series would be better off being invested in supporting young women in mixed series en-route to Formula 1, when they’re crying out for more funding.

Pippa Mann, ex-Indy 500 racer was particularly vocal on the series on Twitter: ‘What a sad day for motorsport’ she said. “Those with funding to help female racers are choosing to segregate them as opposed to supporting them. I am deeply disappointed to see such a historic step backwards take place in my life time.”

Those behind W-Series might argue that the $1.5m prize for the winner of the championship is likely to be invested in the racing future of the brightest talent in the series, and so it will determine the female driver most worthy of their financial support, while raising the profile of the cause of women in motorsport in the short term.

Whether the finances will allow W-Series to be sustainable when it has been the cause of the demise of countless other well-intentioned series remains to be seen.


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