W Series: Women's Formula racing series to launch in 2019

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W Series: Women's Formula racing series to launch in 2019

Post by John » 1 week ago

From Autosport:
A new international single-seater championship for women will launch next year with the aim of helping females push to reach Formula 1.

W Series, which will use Tatuus F3-spec cars, has backing from 13-time F1 race winner David Coulthard and will have a prize pot totalling $1.5million.

The winner of the category will earn $500,000 to help fund her next step up the racing ladder to F1.

The six-round W Series will launch in May 2019 and feature 30-minute races in Europe, with one round to be held in the UK. Expansion in Australia, Asia and the Americas is expected longer-term.

Those hoping to compete will not have to bring sponsorship, but will have to prove their ability through a selection process to ensure the grid is full of the best talent possible.

Judges will include Coulthard, former F1 team manager Dave Ryan - who is the series' racing director - and designer Adrian Newey, who is an advisory board member.

Speaking about why an all-female category was created, Coulthard said: "We at W Series firmly believe that female and male racing drivers can compete with one another on equal terms given the same opportunity.

"At the moment, however, 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.

"That's why an all-new all-female single-seater motor racing series is required - W Series - to establish a competitive and constructive motorsport habitat in which our drivers will be able to equip themselves with the necessary skill-set eventually to move on up to existing high-level mainstream racing series and compete with the best male drivers on equal terms."

W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir, who has helped raise funding, added: "There are just too few women competing in single-seaters series at the moment.

"W Series will increase that number very significantly in 2019, thereby powerfully unleashing the potential of many more female racing drivers.

"W Series drivers will become global superstars - inspirational role models for women everywhere - and every organisation, every company, every sponsor and indeed every single person who helps W Series' winners and champions achieve those ground-breaking successes will be able to celebrate their part in it, publicly, to lasting worldwide acclaim.

"W Series is an inspiring innovation whose time is now."

Newey said he felt there was no reason why women could not be successful in F1.

"I believe the reason why so few women have so far raced successfully at the highest levels against men is a lack of opportunity rather than a lack of capability," he said.

"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."
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Post by Antonov » 1 week ago

oh wow, segregation for the win.

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Post by Ian-S » 1 week ago

Nothing like a bit of sexism, oh, only men are guilty of that right?

Should be good for some laughs, although I seem to remember this being tried before and falling flat on its face.
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Post by John » 1 week ago

What I don't get - is this:

I'm sure there are plenty of able female drivers out there. Why not take the money this racing series will cost to run and start a talent funding program instead, if funding female racers is the end goal? Will a title in this championship carry any weight compared to, say, the BRDC F4/F3 titles?

Is there enough able drivers out there to avoid, say, a 10 second spread over the course of a lap at Oulton park or whatever?

I'm sure the teams in Euro F3, or F2, would absolutely love a female driver fighting at the front of the grid. But that driver has to emerge. The ones who have landed "test driver" roles or ambassadorial duties with F1 teams don't exactly cut it. When this topic was raised last time, there were plenty of female drivers lashing out against the concept. Pippa Mann and others, to name a few. Can't find the tweets at the moment though.

I'm in no way arguing that women aren't faced with a whole different host of challenges compared to male drivers. But at the end, if you win races, and prove your worth, you'll get your chances. And when it does come to finding backing, that's where a program should perhaps come in. That said, if a female driver would win the Euro F3 championship, I doubt she'd have difficulties in finding the backing needed for a F2 campaign.

Edit: Oh hey, I found a quote from Pippa on the subject, from 2017:
“We are talking about millions of dollars of investment from backers and sponsors who have been convinced that this is the way to help empower female drivers,” Mann told IndyStar. “And that’s the thing that makes me most angry. Because there are so many female drivers who are struggling with sponsorship and who are fighting so hard to find the funding to keep racing. And the way to support them is to get behind them and get them in racing cars, not do it some sort of wretched segregated series of your own creation.”

“You’ve fought your entire career to stand up and be a racer. But as a racer, you want to drive a racing car so badly and so deeply that you’ll consider doing almost anything to do it. … It offends me at every level that they are putting female racers in this position and forcing them to make this horrible choice. It’s selling your soul to the devil. And then being told to smile about it.”

Mann said she would not begrudge women who agreed to participate. She knows there are drivers with dreams who will take any opportunity they can.

But that’s what make this so distasteful.

The proprietors of this championship are preying on those dreams and taking advantage of them. They are forcing these drivers to identify first and foremost as women, rather than racers – contrary to everything they’ve fought for their whole careers.

The organizers may believe they are crafting this league with the right intentions: To better showcase talented female drivers.

But this is the wrong way to go about it. While seemingly empowering female drivers, this championship actually does the opposite. It strips power from women by segregating them and making it it appear as though they can't make it in a man's racing world.

It would represent the undoing of decades of work by courageous female pioneers who have proved they belong in racing garages and have been accepted there.
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Post by hollie3sa » 1 week ago

I'm looking forward to finally seeing grid guys

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Post by kals » 1 week ago

Ian-S wrote:
1 week ago
Nothing like a bit of sexism, oh, only men are guilty of that right?

Should be good for some laughs, although I seem to remember this being tried before and falling flat on its face.
Yes, Formula Woman. When they pitted randoms against each other in Mazda RX7s. And that was a great success wasn't it.

Reading some journo's and driver's comments on this today has been interesting. Pippa Mann is dead against it, says it is condescending, segregating and treating women like a side show considering motorsport is one of the few sports where genders are able to compete side by side. Then there's others who say it will give more women a chance to get into mainstream motorsport and the series should be given a chance. I'm finding myself siding with Pippa Mann on this although I don't have a full opinion on the series itself.

The interesting thing is that the main public figures of this series are men. Kind of ironic, don't you think.

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Post by John » 1 week ago

Well, this has split the racing world: https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/news ... ing-series

At the end of the day, if it gets more women into the sport, it's a good thing, I suppose. But I can't help feeling that they could have come up with a better way of funding drivers already in F3/F4.
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Post by kals » 1 week ago

John wrote:
1 week ago
At the end of the day, if it gets more women into the sport, it's a good thing, I suppose. But I can't help feeling that they could have come up with a better way of funding drivers already in F3/F4.
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Post by Ian-S » 1 week ago

Yeah but this will make those who've dreamt up the idea more money in the long run than it would finding a talented lady and backing her, dumb arse people and business will be falling over themselves to jump on the bandwagon, I imagine in this day and age it'll be piss easy for those behind it to find finance, nobody will want to be that company that says no through fear of being labelled sexist, bit like how Formula E has become what it is.

Pippa is correct, has she been labelled a bullied female too scared to tell the truth in a male dominated world yet by the feminist jihadies?

It's easy to see from articles exactly who won't be racing in it LOL.
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Post by John » 1 week ago

Ian-S wrote:
1 week ago
Yeah but this will make those who've dreamt up the idea more money in the long run than it would finding a talented lady and backing her, dumb arse people and business will be falling over themselves to jump on the bandwagon, I imagine in this day and age it'll be piss easy for those behind it to find finance, nobody will want to be that company that says no through fear of being labelled sexist, bit like how Formula E has become what it is.

Pippa is correct, has she been labelled a bullied female too scared to tell the truth in a male dominated world yet by the feminist jihadies?

It's easy to see from articles exactly who won't be racing in it LOL.
Pippa strikes me as the kind of person who couldn't give a fuck about what's written about her on social media.

What are the odds of Carmen Jorda securing a drive here?
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Post by Ian-S » 1 week ago

100%.
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Post by DoubleFart » 1 week ago

Carmen Jorda should stick to modelling. She's exactly who this is aimed at - women who think they're weaker than men and have a ceiling, so need their own space. No, you're able to take us on and we welcome your threat.

This series is a joke and will be treated as a joke. If you get to F3 and look really quick, people will want you. Think Red Bull don't want to have a female superstar in their roster?

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Post by MonteCristo » 1 week ago

I dunno. Maybe as a way of identifying talent at a really low level (up to like F4 or something). But once you get to a decent standard, you really need to be able to stand on your own two feet.

That said, pay drivers are everywhere. So ho-hum.
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Post by John » 1 week ago

Another thing here, how much would a title really be worth? The pool of female racing drivers is so incredibly small. You're not going to beat the best, you're going to beat...the rest. So to speak.

If they're looking to get a field of 18-20 cars, that means something like buying 36-40 chassis, and engines, and spares. Add the price money into the mix, and the fact that I've yet to see any sponsors put their names behind it.

For that hypothetical budget, including the money which the champions get, I get the feeling you got set up a F3 team and field two female drivers in Euro F3 instead. Which would do a helluva lot more good anyway.

Who's paying?
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Post by DoubleFart » 1 week ago

Are they going to have an all female mechanical support team?

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