W Series to confirm top 8 drivers for 2022 season
More than the title fight: at next week's W Series season finale, drivers will battle to finish in the Top-8, thus gaining automatic entry on the 2022 grid.
W Series announced one more detail about next season's grid ahead of the US Grand Prix double header next week. While this year's field was shaped by the 2019 top-12 finishers plus six new entries selected via an assessment process that saw Abbie Eaton, Ayla Agren, Bruna Tomaselli, Belén García, Nerea Martí and Irina Sidorkova ultimately joining the grid, it would be the 2021 top eight to get an automatic entry to the class of 2022. With 50 points still on the table and with two races to go, all the current 18 drivers still have chances to secure a spot within the Top-8, as just 22 points separate eighth-placed Belén García to the bottom of the points standings. Entering the final weekend tied in the championship lead at 109 points, Alice Powell and reigning champion Jamie Chadwick already have enough points to automatically qualify. But, according to FIA Super Licence points - this year being rewarded for the first time in W Series - the series champion won't be allowed to defend the title. Therefore, in case either Chadwick or Powell will decide to continue in W Series having taken the 2021 title, they will not be eligible for Super Licence points in 2022. "Today's news ensures the drama will be compelling throughout the field as every driver on the grid looks to seize this final opportunity to shine on motor racing's biggest stage and ensure they don't miss out on what promises to be another great W Series season next year." - commented Catherine Bond Muir, W Series CEO. While the fight for the title will be the big story of the American weekend, there will be important battles throughout the field to determine next year's grid - just like at the exciting Brands Hatch season finale in 2019. Both Nerea Martí and Irina Sidorkova - currently fourth and seventh in the championship standings - already have gained automatic entry for a further season as members of W Series Academy, the young development program by W Series, regardless of their position in the standings at the end of the season. Sidorkova, though, has been struggling to get a US visa and is not currently clear if she will make it to Austin. Reserve driver Abbi Pulling - who entered two races and scored points in both occasions - also has the chance to get into the Top-8, as the British racer has been confirmed to take part in the seventh and eighth rounds of the championship at COTA in the second PUMA car. Bond Muir confirmed that there is increasing interest in the series from potential new drivers, but with the series moving towards a team-based structure in 2022, it has not been announced yet how the selections will be managed. "Our landmark partnership with Formula 1 has resulted in increased interest in the series around the world and a larger pool of talented female racing drivers from which to choose from in season three" - stated Bond Muir. With two races to go, the current qualified drivers would be: Alice Powell, Jamie Chadwick, Emma Kimiläinen, Nerea Martí, Fabienne Wohlwend, Sarah Moore, Irina Sidorkova and Belén García.