Irina Sidorkova chasing US visa for W Series season finale
Russian teenager Irina Sidorkova says her racing season "in the hands of the US Embassy" as she is struggling to get a visa for the W Series season finale in Austin.
Irina Sidorkova took to her social media profiles to explain her current situation in chasing a US visa for the final rounds of the 2021 W Series championship.
After the all-female series announced last week that due to a change in the F1 calendar, the final race scheduled at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico will have to be cancelled for the logistical challenges. The Austin round will thus become a double-header and round out the W Series sophomore season.
Round 7 will be contested on Saturday 23rd October, while the season finale is set to crown the series' champion on Sunday 24th, always as part of the support program to the F1 US Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas.
18-year old Irina Sidorkova has been one of the revelations of the championship; she has claimed a podium at only her second race in the series and finished fourth in Hungaroring, in another strong performance for the W Series Academy driver.
Unfortunately, the Russian driver had to miss the Belgian round at Spa Francorchamps after testing positive for Covid-19 on Friday morning. The driver went into self-isolation and was tested again on Sunday - resulting negative, and thus was allowed to travel to the Netherlands for the back-to-back round at Zandvoort.
Sidorkova - the youngest driver on the grid and currently seventh in the championship standings despite missing one race meeting - explained that she is now having troubles in getting a visa to travel to the US for the season finale.
"I've had a 3-year US visa, but it expired in 2019, and getting a new one in 2021 is a real quest!" - she wrote, citing that the US Embassy in Russia is currently closed. The driver has tried to apply for visas to several other countries' embassies, but with little success so far, with appointments being granted in 2022.
"There are also countries where documents for student and work visas are accepted, but this is not my case. I have invitations from the US organizers of the F1 race at COTA (Austin) and W Series, as well as valid UK and EU visas, but getting to the race in the USA on October 23 is now like a lottery for me." - she added.
Sidorkova has managed to secure a meeting at the US Embassy in Muscat, Oman, where she will be flying at the end of this week with the hope of getting her visa for the United States in time for the upcoming F1 US GP.
"Now, my racing season and position in the championship are in the hands of the US Embassy in Oman".
It is not the first time that a racing driver is struggling to get entry to the US. In 2011, Swiss racer Simona de Silvestro was kept from entering the United States and had to miss the IndyCar race at Sonoma. In 2017, Russian IndyCar driver Mikhail Aleshin had similar problems.
Hopefully, Sidorkova's situation will resolve with a positive outcome and the up-and-coming talent will have the chance to finish her rookie season on a high.