All-female F1 support series close to collapse
"It has always been a struggle but we’re fighters"
The mission of powering a woman onto the Formula 1 grid has suffered a major setback, as it emerges that the so-called ’W Series’ is on the brink of collapse.
The Telegraph reports that the series, in which only female drivers race at the wheel of Formula 3 cars during eight Formula 1 race weekends, may collapse after this weekend’s event in Singapore.
The report said W Series owes "significant sums" to creditors and may not be able to afford to attend the last two scheduled events at Austin and Mexico.
Series boss Catherine Bond Muir tried to play down the situation.
"We’ve had to fight from day one," she said. "It has always been a struggle but we’re fighters.
“We’re looking at our budgets. We’re confident that we’ll continue to raise money."
However, the situation is so dire that it is feared runaway series leader Jamie Chadwick - who also won the first W Series championships in 2019 and 2021 - will not receive her $500,000 prize money this year.
That is because the series’ accounts show that as of earlier this month, W Series owes $8.3 million euros.
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali caused a stir last month when he said only a "meteorite" could accelerate the chances of a woman joining the F1 grid "in the next five years".
Chadwick, however, hit back by claiming that being on the grid in five years is in fact her clear objective.
"As great as the W Series is, it lacked the driving time and development that it needed," the 24-year-old Briton said.
"For that reason, I think I should go straight into F2."
But W Series boss Catherine Bond Muir insists she is still "optimistic" about the future.
"You have to understand W Series is a brand new sport," she said.
"Tennis has equality now because Billie Jean King fought for those rights 50 years ago. Football is slowly starting to become more equal.
"It takes time. We’re only in our third season."