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W Series confirms its 18 drivers for first season of all-women championship

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W Series, the new single-seater series aimed at promoting female racing talent, has announced the 18 drivers who will compete in its inaugural championship.

The grid was selected from an initial list of 61 drivers. In addition to the 18 drivers who will contest the championship, four reserve drivers have also been named.

The final stage of the selection process involved four days of testing at the Almeria circuit in Spain. The first 12 drivers were selected on the morning of the last day of the test, which allowed extra track time to evaluate the other drivers.

“To those drivers who didn’t make it through, I offer my commiserations, of course, but I also say ‘well done’,” said W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir.

“All our drivers worked diligently, studied hard, and drove well, including those who didn’t make it through. To the 18 drivers who did make it through, I say ‘big congrats and very well done’.

“But I also want to mention our four reserve drivers, who didn’t quite make the final 18 but all impressed our judges. They’ll be disappointed, inevitably, but they’re still part of the W Series family.”

Pre-season testing will take place at the Lausitzring in Germany from April 14th to 16th ahead of the season-opening event at the Hockenheimring from May 3rd-4th.

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2019 W Series drivers and reserves

Drivers

Jamie Chadwick
Sabre Cook
Marta Garcia
Megan Gilkes
Esmee Hawke
Jessica Hawkins
Shea Holbrook
Emma Kimilainen
Miki Koyama
Sarah Moore
Tasmin Peppe
Vicky Piria
Alice Powell
Gosia Rdest
Naomi Schiff
Beitske Visser
Fabienne Wohlwend
Caitlin Wood

Reserves

Sarah Bovy
Vivien Keszthelyi
Stephane Kox
Francesca Linossi

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 28 comments on “W Series confirms its 18 drivers for first season of all-women championship”

    1. why does this sound like a casting show? am I just being a condescending white male? or was the CEO standing there with a bunch of golden steering wheels calling them up one by one, leaving overly long dramatic pauses? ‘I am sorry but I do not have a wheel for you’.
      were there confessionals after the choosing?

      1. And exactly what is your problem?

      2. @mrboerns you kill me. 🤣

        Even if the guy above clearly doesn’t get it.

    2. I am looking forward to watching this series. I’m interested to see them all race, especially Jamie. Has there been an announcement where we can catch the transmissions?

      It has been interesting to read the arguments for and counter-arguments against creating this women-only racing series. All I can say is, it has certainly tweaked my interest. I don’t see it as a platform that separates male from female racing drivers. I see it as a welcome platform for female racers to increase their exposure and experience. I also like it that they started with 61 candidates and whittled that number down to 18 through several tests.

      This is simply an additional opportunity for showcasing talent and gaining experience, and I hope young female aspiring racers everywhere see it as that.

      1. @shimks exactly my thoughts as well. Especially regarding increased exposure and potentially appeal for young girls.

        I also hope that they will be quite aggressive in the drivers selection in the future as well. Dropping an eventual sub par driver to give a chance for a reserve. Limit the number of drivers which can continue from season 1 to 2 (like 9 seats could be occupied by the best drivers who want to continue from the previous season and did a full season. Remaining 9 seats to new drivers or drivers who did a partial season). Creating a competitive and kind of fierce environnement will push them to perform and should raise the global level of performance.

        1. Interesting ideas, @jeanrien. I guess they must already have a plan for how they are going to transfer between seasons but I haven’t come across anything on it.

      2. “I see it as a welcome platform for female racers to increase their exposure and experience”

        Female racers don’t need a leg up at this level anymore. Any female racer who reaches open wheel racing and is competitive will actually get MORE exposure than her male counterparts.

        To get more female racers, work needs to be done at the karting level.

        1. True about added exposure but they are still a few in the field mainly composed of males. Culture and stereotype also add to the idea that motorsports is for men with the odd female.

          For any casual spectators it would be the case and I believe W serie could trigger interest for the little girls looking at the TV with daddy. With a field of women they can identify themselves and hook up (plus easier to justify what you want to do to your dad)…
          Then their starting points would be karting anyway. I guess nobody denies that any incentive should have the goal to bring more women to karting to have one reaching F1. But trying to act directly at karting level might not be as effective as W serie…

          1. Mums watch motorsport too…

    3. Would a male who’s transitioned to a female be allowed to compete?

    4. I hope this works the same way as a feeder series, such as F3/F2, where the aim is to get the successful drivers onto the next level (I expect from Formula W, the next natural step would be F3).
      What we don’t want to see is drivers making a career out of racing here, such as Sofuoğlu in World Supersport. Otherwise it would just encourage mediocrity.

    5. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
      28th March 2019, 8:39

      I think it’s great (whether this was purposeful or not I don’t know) that there is a decent balance of nationalities in the selection. There’s drivers from the UK (5), USA (2), Spain, Canada, Finland, Japan, Italy, South Africa, Belgium, Netherlands, Liechtenstein, Poland, and Australia. I think that helps a lot with the role model side of things, as people I would assume are slightly more likely to connect with a local driver. However, my one gripe with the selection process is that it clearly isn’t looking for the “next female Formula 1 driver”. I say this mostly because of the age of the candidates. If you look at the past 5 years (2014-2019), the oldest debutant who came from junior single seaters (aka excluding Brendan Hartley, who had been racing in the WEC previously) was Jolyon Palmer, who was 25 when he made his debut. While I don’t think they should have limited it to drivers under 23 or even younger, it would have been nice to have a grid that all still have a chance (due to their age) of progressing to F1, so 25 or younger (or something similar). Without disrespect to the older drivers, being Kimilainen (29), Holbrook (28), and Pepper (28), they will never get to Formula 1 simply because, even in a best-case scenario (one year in W-series, one in FIA F3, one in F2), they would be in their thirties before the get to F1. I would have liked to see the likes of Keszthelyi (17) and Kox (24) in a full race seat.

      1. decent balance of nationalities

        More than 25% are British

        Oh you condescending brit male.

        1. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
          28th March 2019, 14:28

          You make a fair point, I guess I didn’t explain myself well. I meant that there are some drivers from different regions as well, your continental northern and souther Europe, Scandinavia, Eastern/Central Europe, Asia, Australia, North America, and Africa. (Fun fact, I am not British but instead Dutch)

    6. Im going to win.

    7. I trust that in addition to drivers, this series is also creating opportunities for women to participate in support, engineering, mechanical and even pit crew positions.

      We’re seeing more and more women in significant positions in F1 teams and this surely would be a great opportunity for more to gain experience.

    8. Can they get an F1 licence through this series? I think they should.

      1. Good question.

    9. The car specifications are very disappointing.

      https://wseries.com/w-hub/tatuus-f3-t-318-tech-spec/

      I understood that initially the plan was to have a car approaching the F2 car spec at about 600bhp. How and why did it change to a 280bhp F3 car? It is too low.

      1. @spoutnik Three guesses. £, £ or £’s?

        Which will be the likely reason this series fails. Just like the many other ‘non-traditional’ formula race series have over the years.

        1. @psynrg Indeed. No guts no glory. Not even GP2 engines, what a yoke!

    10. Has anything been announced for broadcasting? It would be a great series for Sky to cover on the F1 channel, especially give the similarities to the F2 they broadcast.

      Ultimately the success of this series as a feeder to F1/2 will depend on how competitive the drivers a the front are. It will hopefully open some eyes and change some minds when teams come to scouting new drivers. Its a real opportunity.

      1. GtisBetter (@)
        28th March 2019, 15:38

        I think they are part of the DTM weekends, so Maybe the channel that does DTM?

    11. So much…. Hair.

      1. @psynrg
        Lol. Did you see Colton Herta take his helmet off after winning the Austin IndyCar race last weekend? :)

    12. Hope they get them all a pair of racing boots, hard enough to drive a road car at pace in trainers, can’t imagine what its like in a formula car with their narrow pedals

    13. I still think this series would have made far more sense by having ten teams where each team has to have one male driver and one female driver.

    Comments are closed.