W-Series announces 2020 grid
Following the selection tests at Almeria, Spain, the all-female championship W-Series announced a partial entry-list. Jamie Chadwick will come back to defend her title.
Following the three days-test part of the selection process that went underway last month in Almeria, Spain, W-Series has now announced a partial entry-list for the second edition of the all-female Formula 3 championship.
Six new drivers have been added to the grid: they will join the top-12 racers that received automatic confirmation after their entries based on the 2019 final classify.
Firstly, the list is led by series champion Jamie Chadwick. The Brit will thus come back to the series to defend her crown and to gain the precious Super Licence points which are at stake for the first time this year. Chadwick hinted the intention of a FIA Formula 3 switch, but she would have had to find the proper budget for a top team in the F1 support series, despite the very rich W-Series prize.
Also vice-champion Beitske Visser will make her return to the female series, followed by the highly-ranked and potential title contenders Alice Powell, Marta Garcia and Emma Kimilainen.
After a rigorous analysis and data compare of the fourteen contestants, six names emerged from Almeria: they are Ayla Agren, Abbie Eaton, Belen Garcia, Nerea Marti, Irina Sidorkova and Bruna Tomaselli.
Ayla Agren and Bruna Tomaselli took the second chance after being excluded from the 2019 grid. Agren, 25-year old Norwegian was surprisingly among the missing names on the inaugural grid. She is a F1600 champion in the USA and comes from a couple of inactive years due to a lack of financial resources.
Other Road to Indy program driver Bruna Tomaselli completes her increadible season with the W-Series announcement, after finishing 8th in the very competitive USF2000 standings.
27-year old British driver Abbie Eaton has enjoyed some fame for her role on the "The Grand Tour" television program. Eaton conquesr a place on the W-Series grid that has the taste of a last-career chance, after being sidelined earlier this year from a Super2 Series campaign, again for budget constraints.
A Blancpain GT race winner, Eaton revealed that the Almeria tests was her very first time in a formula car.
Spanish Formula 4 confirms to be a source of excellent female talents: after Marta Garcia, three more drivers from the Spain-based series will now make their debut in the W-Series: race-winner Belen Garcia, Nerea Marti and Irina Sidorkova.
16-year old Sidorkova will be the youngest W-Series driver ever. The teenager from Moscow supported by the SMP Racing program, reaches the remarkable target after just one year of auto racing. She raced in both the Spanish and Russian Formula 4 championships.
Among the names that didn't make the cut, are Michelle Gatting and highly-experienced Katherine Legge.
W-Series highlighted that to the 18 named revealed today, two more driver will be added to the grid, thus taking the 18 car grid up to a total of 20 for next year.
It is likely that the two additional drivers will be selected among the pool of 2019 drivers that did not make the top-12 last year, as none of them have been included in the list so far. “It’s an impressive list, including the top 12 from our 2019 season, and six new drivers, who all performed well at Almeria." - commented Catherine Bond-Muir, the series CEO.
"The result is a varied and international group, comprising 18 drivers from 12 countries, ranging in age from the super-experienced Finn, Emma Kimilainen, 30, to the very promising young Russian, Irina Sidorkova, 16. “Our commiserations go to those whom we haven’t selected, but sadly their disappointment is simply an example of the jeopardy inherent in any athlete’s life at the higher levels of competitive sport. The more you can win, the more you can lose.”
W-Series and former McLaren race director led the selection panel: “I was generally impressed by the 14 drivers whom we tested and appraised at Almeria last month, and making our selection was correspondingly difficult. But we’ve crunched all the data to the best of our ability, and I’m therefore confident that the 18 drivers whom we’ve selected so far represent an excellent line-up. But we’ve left two spaces available, to allow us a little more time to select the final two drivers who, together with the 18 drivers we’ve already selected, will make up the 20 drivers who’ll contest the 2020 W Series championship."
"I’m consequently hoping our 2020 season will be even better than our 2019 season.” - he concluded.
Partial 2020 W-Series entry list:
Jamie Chadwick (GBR), 21 Beitske Visser (NLD), 24 Alice Powell (GBR), 26 Marta Garcia (ESP), 19 Emma Kimilainen (FIN), 30 Fabienne Wohlwend (LIE), 21 Miki Koyama (JPN), 21 Sarah Moore (GBR), 25 Vicky Piria (ITA), 25 Tasmin Pepper (RSA), 29 Jessica Hawkins (GBR), 24 Sabre Cook (USA), 24 Ayla Agren (NOR), 25 Abbie Eaton (GBR), 27 Belen Garcia (ESP), 20 Nerea Marti (ESP), 17 Irina Sidorkova (RUS), 16 Bruna Tomaselli (BRA), 21
Ph credits: W-Series media