Hankook to remain with W Series in 2021
Tyre supplier and among the founding partners of the all-female W Series championship in its inaugural season, Hankook will continue to support the series in 2021 as Global Tyre Partner in its first year with F1.
Among its partners since its inception in 2019, tyre manufacturer Hankook will remain as official tyre supplier of the all-female Formula 3 championship W Series in 2021, in the series first season as support category of Formula 1.
While the pandemic had forced W Series to halt its 2020 plans, the deal with F1 has re-built momentum for the first ever motor racing championship for female drivers.
"W Series' inaugural season was a great success and Hankook played a big part in that, so today's news that one of our founding partners is continuing to support our mission is fantastic." – commented W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir.
With 18 drivers already announced – the same line up that was supposed to take to the grid in 2020 – all the Tatuus T-318 cars will thus be fitted with the Hankook Ventus F200 slick tyre, as well as the Z217 grooved tyre for wet conditions.
"Hankook has supported W Series as exclusive tyre partner since day one, because we want to help the young drivers find their feet and establish themselves in a motorsport world that is still male-dominated." – echoed Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook's Motorsport Director Europe. "We are pleased to be able to support W Series again in 2021, now on the same bill as Formula 1."
With Pirelli being F1 global tyre partner, the extension of the Hankook-W Series deal was less obvious than it might seem.
The Korean tyre manufacturer is also gaining momentum in other elite motorsport championships and, after supplying DTM, is getting ready to partner Formula E for its Gen3 car. The Tatuus F3 cars of Toyota Racing Series are also equipped with the same tyre that the W Series drivers will be supplied, as Hankook has also extended its presence to championships such as Formula 3 Regional Americas and Spanish Formula 4.
"Having confidence in the performance of the tyres is vital when you are racing on the limit, and Hankook’s quality and consistency in all conditions during W Series' first season helped all of the drivers focus on racing which produced lots of exciting on-track battles." – said 2019 champion Jamie Chadwick.
"This year will be an even bigger challenge as we visit eight new circuits with Formula 1, but I know that Hankook's team will rise to the occasion again, allowing my competitors and I to shine on motor racing's biggest stage."
The W Series operation was run by British team Hitech in its inaugural season, in what was one of the most successful attempts of a full-spec championship. While the team has discontinued its involvement in the series, W Series still has to confirm the new replacement.
After last hitting the track at the selection tests in Almeria in September 2019, the Tatuus W Series cars are expected to make their on-track return at the upcoming pre-season test at Anglesey Circuit, Wales, from 17-21 May.