2020 W Series drivers confirmed for 2021, Chadwick to defend crown
W Series championship announced that the all-female championship will retain the 18 drivers initially set to compete in the cancelled 2020 season, as Jamie Chadwick will also come back to defend her title.
Shortly after announcing its impressive 2021 calendar in conjunction with 8 of the most famous Formula 1 GPs, the all-female W Series championship revealed that the 18 drivers that were set to compete in the cancelled sophomore 2020 season will indeed see their entries confirmed.
The inaugural champion Jamie Chadwick will also come back to defend her crown: with W Series now being eligible for FIA Superlicence points for the first time, it made perfect sense for the British upcoming star to come back for a second campaign, despite her presence remained unconfirmed until yesterday's announcement.
"Really exciting from W Series" - she told us at the Formula Regional's season finale in Vallelunga two weeks ago, commenting on the new W Series calendar.
"I think it's a big step for them, a huge news in the sense that goes from strength to strength and continues to grow."
"People are most aware of me because of W Series and the last two years have been a life-changing whirlwind." - she added with today's announcement, clearing doubts about her 2021 plans, as she will race in both the brand-new Extreme-E series and in the F3 championship for female drivers only.
"Winning the inaugural W Series Championship in 2019 was the biggest stepping stone in my career, providing me with so many amazing opportunities. The same has been true for lots of the drivers from our maiden on-track season and it just proves that W Series' mission to provide greater opportunities for women in motorsport is working."
"W Series' new partnership with Formula 1 from 2021 is a ringing endorsement of the series and a testament to the immense skill of all the drivers. I am relishing the prospect of racing alongside them on some of the greatest circuits in the world next year in a bid to defend my W Series title."
"FIA Super Licence points will be on the line and, having already had a taste of the F1 world in my role as development driver for the Williams F1 team, I am determined to earn as many as possible and move a step closer to my dream of competing in Formula 1."
Chadwick's main rival to the 2019 title, 25 year old Dutchwoman beitske Visser, will also come back to hunt the 2021 crown, after winning the iRacing-based W Series Esports League in 2020. Visser also made her ELMS debut this year and entered the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans in an all-female crew in the LMP2 class.
The confirmation of the first 18 drivers means that we will get the chance to see race winners Alice Powell, Marta Garcia and Emma Kimiläinen targeting more glory, with also an interesting line-up of 6 competitive newcomers: Ayla Ågren, Abbie Eaton, Belen Garcia, Nerea Martí, Irina Sidorkova and Bruna Tomaselli will all make their W Series debut at the opening race at Le Castellet, France.
Additional drivers might be announced in due course, as the full grid could potentially be extended to 20 cars.
"I am delighted that the 18 drivers who would have competed in our 2020 on-track season will all get the chance to showcase their talents on-track in 2021, in partnership with Formula 1", said the series CEO, Catherine Bond Muir.
"This year has been incredibly testing for everybody, but our fast and fearless drivers have displayed remarkable resilience and dedication, and they can now look forward to competing on motor racing’s biggest stage thanks to W Series' new partnership with Formula 1."
The initial 18 drivers represent 12 different countries, with the UK (5) and Spain (3) being the two most represented nationalities.
"Having had to wait almost two years for an on-track W Series race, and with FIA Super Licence points up for grabs, I expect the competition to be fierce and the racing to be spectacular when our 2021 season begins in France next June" - commented Dave Ryan, W Series Racing Director.
"I expect our six rookies to shine too, and we are looking forward to finding out how they will cope with the pressure of competing against our established high performers. One of the great things about any sport is its unpredictability, so I am sure we will see lots of surprises along the way."
Here is the full list of the initial 18 drivers as revealed by W Series:
Jamie Chadwick, UK, 22
Beitske Visser, Netherlands, 25
Alice Powell, UK, 27
Marta García, Spain, 20
Emma Kimiläinen, Finland, 31
Fabienne Wohlwend, Liechtenstein, 23
Miki Koyama, Japan, 23
Sarah Moore, UK, 27
Vicky Piria, Italy, 27
Tasmin Pepper, South Africa, 30
Jessica Hawkins, UK, 25
Sabré Cook, USA, 26
Ayla Ågren, Norway, 27
Abbie Eaton, UK, 28
Belén García, Spain, 21
Nerea Martí, Spain, 18
Irina Sidorkova, Russia, 17
Bruna Tomaselli, Brazil, 23
Cars will hit the track for the first race weekend on June 26th at the French Grand Prix at Circuit Paul Ricard. No pre-season testing date has been announced yet.