W Series to finish 2021 season with double header at COTA
Following revisions of the F1 calendar, W Series announced its 2021 season will end at Circuit of the Americas in a month's time with a double header.
We were all eagerly waiting for the on-track return of the all-female W Series championship in a month's time, after an exciting 2021 season that currently sees the two main contenders – Alice Powell and Jamie Chadwick – tied on top of the standings.
With today's announcement, the Circuit of the Americas' round will become even more crucial for the title fight: the US Grand Prix will, in fact, conclude the sophomore season of the first ever F3 championship for women only, as F1's calendar change regarding the Mexican GP has forced the W Series organization to cancel the season finale at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.
The logistical challenges posed by the new date (6/7 November) rather than the back-to-back as originally planned means that the W Series round at COTA will now become a double-header, with a race on Saturday 23rd October and the highly anticipated finale on Sunday 24th.
W Series usually features one 30-minute practice session, a 30-minute qualifying session and a race per weekend and the schedule of the upcoming Austin double-header is yet to be revealed.
"We are, of course, disappointed not to be able to conclude our 2021 season at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico City, Mexico, where support for W Series and our mission is very strong." – commented the series CEO, Catherine Bond Muir.
"However, the changes to Formula 1's calendar would have resulted in a standalone W Series race there, which would have been logistically impossible for us."
The 2021 W Series calendar has obviously been influenced by the F1 changes throughout the year, with also the first round in Austria eventually becoming a double header following the date change of the French GP at Paul Ricard, where the series was initially scheduled to kick off. After a 6-round calendar in conjunction with DTM in 2019, W Series has now expanded to 8 rounds as a support series of Formula 1.
The seventh and eighth rounds at the Texan circuit of Austin will be the series' first races held outside Europe. Currently, one American driver – Colorado-born Sabré Cook – is competing in the series, with Brazilian Bruna Tomaselli as the only South American on the grid.
"COTA always puts on a great show and the circuit has provided countless dramatic on-track moments over the years, so I am delighted that we will have a double-header there." – added Bond Muir. "W Series' drivers have produced lots of wonderful racing already this year, seizing their opportunity to shine on motor racing's greatest stage."
Three drivers remain in mathematical contention for the title: Brits Alice Powell and Jamie Chadwick, who took three and two victories respectively, both level on 109 points –and Emma Kimiläinen, who claimed a spectacular win under the rain at Spa and secured pole position in Zandvoort. A slow start of the season, though, left the Flying Finn 34 points behind the frontrunners, with 50 points still on the table.