While I’m sure absolutely everyone would love to hear the ramblings of a man on the W Series, I’m sharing my thoughts anyway.
Given their selection process has begun, now seems as good a time as any to write a few words up on them and my thoughts. Initially I was very against the idea, thinking it would do nothing to help and if anything, only make it worse for women in motorsport. Surely if there are only women in a championship there’s nothing you can really compare them against to see their talents, right?
But then I saw the W Series stand at Autosport International, I listened to the talks they gave on the stage, listened to the people it actually affects talking about it and their racing history. I was missing the point, and while I still think there are ways it could have been done better or improved, that doesn’t matter, for the people involved, it’s helping racers race, improve their skills and abilities, and while supporting DTM, it gives them a great platform to show what they can do to the world.
I understand the criticisms, I still have some, but on the whole there’s a reason it exists, in certain cases, it’s really needed. I saw Alice Powell racing in Formula Renault UK in the very first race weekend I attended, a year later she scored the first point for a woman in GP3, and then after 2014, she never had a full year racing in a series, the sponsorship wasn’t there. Alice was at one point one of the best young women out there racing but a few years later had no money to race, a sad and similar story to many young talents.
Stories like this is why W Series is here, and yes, there are still cons, yes, some people or drivers will still be against it and yes, I think certain parts of it can be improved or done better. But if it helps racers do what they want to do most, race, then it’s good enough. Even at the very least, it’s showcasing talent, with no money needed from the entrants at all, and with the amount of qualifiers they have fighting for seats currently, I’m hoping they have a good first year and expand upon it with a second, lower, championship for the younger drivers and rookies to dip their toes into and progress their careers.
Time will tell if they will succeed in their mission and help more women reach F1, but it can’t hurt anyone’s attempts to surely? I wish them the best of luck and I may even watch a round live this year as they visit Brands Hatch in August.