W Series reveals provisional 2021 calendar
The all-female W Series championship announced its provisional 8-dates calendar as a support series of Formula 1: after a hiatus in 2020, its sophomore season will get underway in June.
Its inaugural season was a resounding success, but the Covid crisis had forced the first ever fully-female championship to take a year stop in 2020. The startup, led by CEO Catherine Bond Muir, decided to switch its attention on a "bigger and better" 2021 and it delivered: W Series announced earlier in November that it had secured a partnership with Formula 1 to race at eight GP events as support series to the top motorsport championship worldwide.
It was a huge development for the selected drivers' careers, who had to find backup plans to stay race-ready in 2020. Some of them, like inaugural champion Jamie Chadwick or runner-up Beitske Visser, managed to find quality commitments such as Formula Regional European Championship and ELMS, as others experimented GT, endurance racing or even returned to karting competitions.
One month later, W Series finally announces its provisional calendar in conjunction with Formula 1 - featuring 8 events starting from the June date of Le Castellet, France.
Like the scrapped 2020 season, six rounds will be held in Europe, with the final two weekends being held across the Atlantic in support of the US and Mexican Grand Prix.
"The prospect of seeing W Series race alongside Formula 1, the world's premier motor racing series, has become even more tantalising as a result of today's announcement of our 2021 race calendar." - commented Bond-Muir.
"The eight races will allow our fast and fearless female racing drivers to showcase their skills on some of the world's most iconic racing circuits, in Europe and the Americas, and literally follow in the tyre tracks of the greatest racing drivers in the world today."
"We are delighted to announce the eight Formula 1 races that W Series will join in 2021." - added Ross Brawn, managing Director of Motorsport at F1.
"There is a really exciting mix of circuits that will showcase the exceptional talent of the drivers in the series. We believe that it is incredibly important to give everyone the chance to reach the highest levels of our sport, and partnering with W Series shows our determination and commitment to building greater diversity across Formula 1."
"W Series' mission will always be to further the interests and prospects of female racing drivers, and to inspire girls and women everywhere." - said the series CEO. "Our 2021 race schedule in partnership with Formula 1 will significantly increase our global reach, impact and influence by placing W Series on motor racing's greatest stage and taking us to new audiences and territories. Our drivers are ready and raring to race and entertain, and the 2021 season curtain-raiser in France next June cannot come soon enough."
W Series will race on all new circuits compared to its 2019 campaign and will travel to France for its opening round. The female series will then head to Austria just one week later, followed by Silverstone and Budapest. The Belgian GP at Spa Francorchamps, one of the drivers and fans favourite, will also play host to a W Series race, as well as the return of F1 to the Netherlands on the renovated Zandvoort circuit.
Like for the 2020 cancelled schedule, the series will then travel to Austin and Mexico City for its title showdown in October.
Here is the 2021 provisional calendar:
26 June - Le Castellet, France 3 July - Spielberg, Austria 17 July - Silverstone, UK 31 July - Budapest, Hungary 28 August - Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium 4 September - Zandvoort, Netherlands 23 October - Austin, USA 30 October - Mexico City, Mexico
Details of the race events format, including practice, qualifying and race times will be announced in due course. A statement on the 2021 driver line up is also expected. 18 drivers were set to take the start of the championship in 2020, including reigning champion Jamie Chadwick.