W Series to race at Singapore GP after calendar change
W Series will contest its first ever Asian race at the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix, for its second visit to a street circuit this year. Logistic challenges have in fact forced the all-female series to cancel the Japanese round at Suzuka.
W Series announced a calendar change for the seventh race of its 2022 season, as the round at Suzuka, in support of the F1 Japanese Grand Prix, will be replaced by the Singapore GP on the streets of Marina Bay. The race - scheduled for one week earlier than the previously planned Japanese round - will be the first ever Asian race for the all-female series.
"Due to unforeseeable operational challenges, the W Series race at the Suzuka International Racing Course in support of the Formula 1 Honda Japanese Grand Prix 2022 on 7-8 October will no longer take place" - reads the W Series statement.
The Singapore Grand Prix makes its return to the F1 calendar after a two year hiatus during the Covid19 pandemic, which forced several Asian events to be cancelled from all global sports calendars. W Series will thus become the main support race alongside F1 at Singapore, which also added to its program a round of the Thai GT championship TSS Super Series.
"W Series is leading the way in promoting diversity and gender equality in motorsports" - Colin Syn, Deputy Chairman of the Singapore GP. "We are proud to partner them by offering a platform for an all-female line-up of elite racers to compete at the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix 2022."
Hosted on the 5.063km temporary racetrack around the streets of Marina Bay, the Singapore GP was first held in 2008 and became the first ever F1 night race.
With W Series looking to a global expansion, series CEO Catherine Bond Muir has always considered an Asian round to be a priority and the event at Singapore is an exciting addition to the calendar. Currently, two Asian drivers are featuring on the 2022 W Series entry list - Academy teammates Bianca Bustamante (Philippines) and Juju Noda (Japan).
"Since we announced our 2022 race calendar in January, the global landscape has changed considerably" - explained Bond Muir. "It's with regret that we will not be racing in Japan this year, where we have strong support, but the challenges involved in doing so have increased significantly in the past six months, meaning that for a young business like ours it is sadly no longer possible to hold a race there."
Logistic challenges have disrupted the global supply chain over the past year and made intercontinental shipping significantly more expensive.
As per a partnership with Toyota Racing Series, the New Zealand-based championship has provided 18 cars to W Series for the Spanish GP at Barcelona - as W Series' freight was returning from the opening double-header at Miami - and was supposed to send its fleet to Suzuka as well. The calendar change is therefore likely to keep costs down by shipping cars to Singapore rather than to Japan.
"Given the giant strides we have made, it is easy to forget that W Series launched less than four years ago", Bond Muir continued. "Every step we have taken has been with the long-term interests of the series in mind as we aim to grow in the most sustainable way possible."
"Our 2022 season promised to be a landmark one as we staged more races (10) in a single season than ever before, including a first-ever race in Asia, which is a key market for us. I'd like to thank both Formula 1 and the team at Singapore GP for helping us to deliver that."
The race will represent the second visit to a street circuit for W Series this year, which opened its 2022 season at the newly built Miami International Autodrome. Norisring, Germany, featured on the 2019 calendar and was W Series' first ever street race.
After this week's Hungarian GP at Hungaroring, Budapest, drivers will have 60 days to train and learn the newly-added round on the sim.
After rounds at Barcelona, Silverstone and Le Castellet, the upcoming race at Hungaroring will round out the European campaign, with the Singapore GP, US GP and Mexican GP hosting the final four races of the season. The season finale at Mexico City, in fact, will be a double-header.
Revised 2022 W Series race calendar:
Hungaroring, Hungary / 29-30 July
Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore / 30 September-2 October
Circuit of the Americas, USA / 21-22 October
Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico / 28-30 October