Nerea Martí and Irina Sidorkova get FIA F3 test
W Series Academy drivers Nerea Martí and Irina Sidorkova will get their first taste of FIA F3 machinery as part of a Diversity programme aimed at increasing female participation at the top of F1's feeder series.
Two of the biggest W Series revelations of the season - and youngest drivers on the grid - Nerea Martí and Irina Sidorkova will be rewarded with a FIA Formula 3 test as part of a Diversity plan launched by FIA F3 and FIA 2 promoters.
Nerea Martí, 19, became the rookie of the year in W Series after a stunning season that saw the saw the Spaniard claiming her first podium at Hungaroring, and finishing in the points in every race. She was the only driver able to do so, alongside series champion Jamie Chadwick and runner up Alice Powell.
Martí, at only her second season of car racing, was quickly on pace and battled with consistency for the Top-5. She finished fourth in the standings.
Teammate Irina Sidorkova, 18, unfortunately missed the final double-header round at COTA after being denied the visa for the US. She already had missed the Belgian GP race at Spa Francorchamps, after testing positive for Covid. Despite missing a few rounds, Sidorkova had an equally impressive season and also showed great speed at Red Bull Ring and Hungaroring. Having just turned 18, she became the youngest W Series driver to score a podium, in the second round in Austria in June.
"Diversity is a very important subject for us. Our wish is to ensure that more and more female drivers join our championship." - said FIA F3 and F2 CEO Bruno Michel.
"We hope that this test is the first step towards making the road to Formula 1 for a female driver more systematic."
The only women to have competed in FIA Formula 3 have been current Richard Mille Racing's teammates Tatiana Calderon and Sophia Floersch. Calderon raced in the top F3 championship from 2016 to 2018, before moving up to Formula 2 in 2019. She is so far the only woman to have graduated to F1's closest feeder series.
Floersch joined Campos Racing in 2020, combining a double program with ELMS. She raced in WEC and DTM in 2021.
Alice Powell, Vicky Piria, Carmen Jorda, Samin Gomez and Beitske Visser had entered GP3 Series, prior to the FIA F3 rebranding.
The test is the first step towards a diversity plan currently undertaken by FIA F3 and FIA F2, willing to generate links with programmes promoting women in motorsport. W Series and Iron Dames have so far been confirmed to be part of this project.
“W Series exists to create a pathway for female racing drivers as they progress into the upper tiers of motorsport." - said W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir.
"Today’s announcement that our two youngest drivers, Irina Sidorkova and Nerea Martí, will take part in a full testing day with the FIA Formula 3 Championship, is proof that we are succeeding in that mission."
W Series has particularly been under the critics' spotlight after 2019 inaugural champion Jamie Chadwick couldn't secure a seat in FIA F3 and further move up the ranks on the F1 ladder despite a 500,000$ prize awarded by the all-female series.
A competitive seat in FIA F3 requires in fact at least double that budget.
The bridge bewteen W Series and FIA F3 is probably one of the biggest steps forward in the quest to support W Series-coached drivers on the path to the highest spheres of motorsport.
“We launched the W Series Academy this season to provide young drivers with the extra coaching and mentoring they need to fulfil their potential." - continued Bond Muir.
“After discussions with W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir, we agreed that there should be a bridge between their series and the single-seater pyramid." - echoed Bruno Michel. "We also agreed that the W Academy drivers are in the best age-range to eventually join the single-seater pyramid, so we selected them for this test session."
The aim of the test, which will be carried out at Magny Cours on November 9th, is for Martí and Sidorkova to familiarise with the Dallara F3 car - which is different from the Tatuus Regional F3 car used in W Series - and help them with understanding of setup and the series' demands.
They will be joined at Magny Cours by Iron Dames' drivers Maya Weug and Doriane Pin, who are scheduled to run on November 10th.
“This is a very exciting opportunity, and we are already thinking about the next steps so that this test is not just a one off.” - concluded Michel.