Tag Archives: W Series

Alice Powell wins the season opener of W Series at the Red Bull Ring in Austria despite late safety car

Alice Powell has won the season opener of W Series at the Red Bull Ring in Austria ahead of Sarah Moore.

Leading a controlled race, pole sitter Powell had a strong start off the line and was able to hold position at the front of the field, despite a late safety car.

Moore comfortably held second position while being put under pressure from Scuderia W teammate, Belen Garcia. But mistakes in the opening laps put Garcia on the backfoot falling down the order and under pressure from Beitske Visser and Emma Kimilainen behind.

A safety car was required as Marta Garcia pulled to the side of the track and retiring in the closing ten minutes of the race. The safety car restart meant that there was a short two lap sprint to finish the race.

On the restart Kimilianen collided with Visser, sending the M. Forbes Motorsport driver spinning. Kimilainen sustained front wing damage after the incident and struggled to make it too the end, falling down the order with parts flying off the car in the final lap to finish P14. The incident between the two will be investigated after the race.

Defending champion Jamie Chadwick was sent to the back of the field after Jess Hawkins locked up and collided with the rear of Chadwick’s car into Turn 1. Chadwick struggled to make it back trough the traffic but recoverd in the Safety car restart to to finish P7. The incident will be investigated by the stewards after the race.

Provisional Classification

The return of W Series: Everything you need to know

This weekend eighteen female drivers will climb into the cockpits of their Tatuus F3-318’s and fight it out in the first round of the W-Series 2021 season at the Red Bull Ring.

After a year out in 2020 due to the pandemic W Series, which is designed to be “the world’s most popular and inclusive female sporting series”, is ready to build on the momentum of the inaugural season along with a new partnership with F1 to propel more women into top level motorsport.

But the inaugural season in 2019 was not immune to controversy and the series is hoping to put fans criticism about indistinguishable livery designs behind them with the transition to a team based championship from 2021 including new livery designs and external partners including Veloce, Puma and Miguel Forbes.

First of all, what is W Series?

W Series in an all-female single-seater FIA F3 championship which was launched in 2018. The championship hopes to be able to turn the tide for women in motorsport after more than 45 years since the last female racer in Formula 1, Lella Lombardi.

The series, unlike other junior formulas, aims to remove barriers and provide equal opportunities as it is free-to-enter. Therefore W Series is able to offer a platform for female drivers who have been unable to gather funding throughout their career up to now.

The winner of the W Series championship receives £500,000 to go towards their motorsport career with a further £1m split between the rest of the drivers, depending on championship finishing position.

Courtesy of W Series: 2019 Season Finale Brands Hatch

Not only is the series focused on the current field but also the female racers of the future, with the hopes that, the current stars of single seater motorsport in this years W Series will encourage more young girls to take up karting at the grassroots of the sport.

While W series’ CEO Catherine Bond Muir’s words that; “If W Series does not succeed, we would have let down a whole generation” may seem excessive – they are very much not – the future of women in F1 somewhat depends entirely on the success of this championship. We are currently not close to having a female driver in F1 and the success of this project may not be seen for years to come. However, with ever-growing audience appetite for women’s sport and increasing external partners; the future of W Series looks bright.

W Series move to a team-based championship

W series will become a team-based championship in 2022 with this year’s season operating as a period of transition.

As mentioned previously, W Series faced criticism from fans in 2019 due to indistinguishable livery designs compounded by W Series’ rules that mean drivers change cars in each round. 

Courtesy W Series: Pre Season Testing Anglesey

This season will see six teams branded by external partners with the remaining teams continuing to be branded by the championship, with new livery designs. The new owners range from existing brands, individuals as well as racing teams.

To protect the championships aim for equal opportunities for all drivers, the cars will continue to be serviced and maintained by the championship as well as remaining mechanically identical.

Among the six new teams are names such as sportswear brand Puma, businessman Miguel Forbes and Veloce racing who’s Extreme E team includes W-Series 2019 champion, Jamie Chadwick.

The Weekend format

The Weekend format for the first two rounds begin with a thirty-minute Practice session and thirty-minute qualifying on a Friday followed by the race on Saturday afternoon. The first round in Spielberg is as follows (In local time):

Practice: Friday 25th June 13:10

Qualifying: Friday 25th June 16:30

Race: Saturday 26th June 16:30

Other than the first two rounds in Austria, the exact times of sessions have not been confirmed so we are likely to see some variation of the weekend depending on the schedule of Formula 1 and other supporting categories at events.

The Drivers and teams for 2021

Team Drivers
Bunker Racing Fabienne Wohlwend (5) and Sabre Cook (37)
M. Forbes MotorsportBeitske Visser (95) and Ayla Agren (17)
Puma W Series TeamMarta Garcia (19) and Gosia Rdest (3)
Racing XAlice Powell (27) and Jess Hawkins (21)
Sirin RacingMiki Koyama (54) and Vicky Piria (11)
Veloce RacingJamie Chadwick (55) and Bruna Tomaselli (97)
Ecurie WEmma Kimiläinen (7) and Abbie Eaton (44)
Scuderia WSarah Moore (26) and Belen Garcia (22)
W Series Academy Irina Sidorkova (51) and Nerea Marti (32)

W Series unveils a revised Calendar as testing gets underway in Anglesey

W Series have announced their revised race calendar for the 2021 season as pre-season testing gets underway in Anglesey.

The original calendar for the 2021 season was revised due to growing international Covid-19 travel restrictions in Turkey, which meant that the Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix (originally replacing the Canadian Grand Prix) was cancelled, and French Grand Prix moved to the 11th to 13th June. As a result, the first round of the W Series 2021 race calendar in France could no longer go ahead as planned.

This morning it was announced that the opening round will take place in Spielberg, Austria on the 26th of June supporting the Formula 1 championship at the Red Bull Ring and the second round will also support the following weeks Austrian GP at the same circuit on the 3rd of July.

The rest of the race calendar, at present, remains the same.

Testing In Anglesey

The Opening race in Austria will not only be the first W Series race under the new partnership with Formula 1, but also the first race since the last round of the inaugural season at Brands Hatch in 2019 due to the pandemic.

Chief Executive Officer of W Series Catherine Bond Muir said “I am overjoyed that the waiting is finally over. If you had told me when Alice Powell won our last race at Brands Hatch that I would have to wait 646 days to see our cars on track again, I wouldn’t have believed you”.

Courtesy of W Series: Vicky Piria at testing on Monday

The new race dates were unveiled ahead of five days of pre-season testing in Anglesey in Wales from today where, as well as testing, a range of new liveries were unveiled following criticism from fans in the 2019 season that cars were hard to distinguish between.

The 2019 W Series Champion Jamie Chadwick said on Monday morning “This week’s pre-season test is vital. I have driven at Anglesey once before – in British F3 in 2017 – and the track is perfect for testing so I am sure we will all learn a huge amount over the five days.”

Courtesy of W Series: Jamie Chadwick celebrating her 2019 Championship win at Brands Hatch

“Through my work with Prema in the Formula Regional European Championship last year and my development driver role with the Williams F1 team, I have learnt so much about how to approach races and I hope that will make the difference this year.”

All eyes now look forward to the next four days of pre-season testing ahead of the opening rounds of the second season of W-Series.