W-Series adds final 2 races on F1 support schedule for 2020
The all-female W-Series championship released its full calendar for the 2020 season, which includes two rounds in support of Formula 1 in Austin and Mexico City.
Following an extraordinary debut season, W-Series is set to gain more momentum as it released the full calendar for its sophomore year including two rounds on the Formula 1 support schedule.
The rumour had circulated for a while and it's now officially confirmed: the all-female F3 championship will travel to Austin and Mexico City for the first non-European rounds of its history, partnering Formula 1: the back-to-back season finale will be held on 24th October (USA) and 31st October (Mexico City), as W-Series extends its calendar from 6 to 8 rounds.
“We are delighted to welcome W Series to two such spectacular events of the 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship such as those in Austin and Mexico City." - said Ross Brawn, Managing Director of Motorsport at Formula 1.
Strategically, this is an important move for Formula 1 as well: “In just one year, W Series has contributed significantly to increasing interest in the topic of diversity and inclusion in motorsport. We are convinced that our sport must offer equal opportunities for men and women to compete together – it is no coincidence that improving the diversity of the F1 grid by supporting and promoting driver talent from under represented backgrounds is one of our strategic objectives." - he added.
“We at W Series are absolutely delighted that, in only our second season, our championship has been welcomed by Formula 1, and we’re utterly thrilled that the final two races of the 2020 W Series season will therefore take place as part of the Formula 1 platform." - commented Catherine Bond Muir, W-Series CEO.
Both Bond Muir and Advisory Board Chairman David Coulthard had strongly hinted about their intention of expanding the W-Series calendar overseas, particularly to the American and Asian continents.
“I’m particularly pleased that W Series will now stage races outside Europe, and the USA and Mexico are of course both very important new territories for us." - said Bond Muir. “Interest in and enthusiasm for W Series was enormous in our first season, 2019, among media and fans alike, and the addition of two all-new W Series races on the Formula 1 platform will inevitably increase that enthusiasm and interest."
Former F1 racing driver David Coulthard added that “for W Series, the announcement of two all-new Formula 1 support races is a truly impressive development, and it demonstrates very clearly the extent to which W Series has quickly been widely accepted as part of the international motorsport calendar.”
“Despite having raced in 246 Grands Prix, between 1994 and 2008, I’ve never driven in a Grand Prix at either Circuit of the Americas or Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, because neither racetrack was part of the Formula 1 calendar during my time as a driver. But I’ve commentated on a number of fantastic Grands Prix at both of them, and I can say with confidence that they’re both great racetracks."
Commercially, the new calendar is also a boost to new sponsors' return on investment, as W-Series revealed a multi-year partnership with ROKiT Phones last December.
Both venues attracted huge crowds in their F1 weekends, with Mexico City being among the top-3 attended GPs in 2019 with 345,694 spectators. Austin followed with a 268,000 attendance figure (F1.com data).
The American and Mexican rounds continue the W-Series tradition of featuring an interesting mix of new facilities such as the Circuit of the Americas (opened in 2012) and historical venues: the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez was first home of the F1 Mexican GP in 1963, before undergoing major updates in 2015.
"That first Formula 1 World Championship Mexican Grand Prix was won by the great Jim Clark, in a Lotus, and two of my fondest memories are the consecutive victories of Alain Prost in 1988 and Ayrton Senna in 1989, both in McLarens, during which time I was a senior member of the McLaren race team." - said Dave Ryan, now Racing Director of the W-Series operation.
Full 2020 W Series championship calendar: St Petersburg, Russia: May 30th Anderstorp, Sweden: June 13th Monza, Italy: June 27th Norisring, Germany: July 11th Brands Hatch, UK: August 23rd Assen, Netherlands: September 5th Austin, USA: October 24th Mexico City, Mexico: October 31st
Cover Ph Credits: Racers-BehindTheHelmet.com