With Formula One’s traditional feeder series, Formula 2 and 3, looking to condense their 2021 schedules, there are some gaps left to fill in the normal race weekend. The all-woman W Series wants to fill those empty slots.
The W Series should have served as a race weekend opener for F1 this season at both the United States and Mexican Grands Prix. When those two races were cancelled, both parties reconfirmed their intentions to team up.
Where F2 and F3 normally both appear on the same race bill as F1, both series are looking to just send one series per weekend to support F1, turning a normal doubleheader event into a triple-header. So, instead of eight track sessions—practice, qualifying, a sprint race, and a feature race for both series—a single series contesting three races will only need five track sessions: one for practice, one for qualifying, and three for the races.
That leaves three slots open for the W Series, one for practice, qualifying, and a race.
While the series has faced criticism, in part because of the chance it could become a spectacle ahead of F1 events without its drivers reaping the benefits of the traditional feeder ladder that accompanies F2 and F3, opening for F1 is certainly more prestigious than opening for DTM, which it did during its inaugural year.
The W Series is currently on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s likely that the heads of the sport are looking to raise its reputation by making use of some highly-coveted track time.
That said, this move exists in the realm of speculation at the moment. There’s still a chance that the W Series could return with DTM in the future.
“The message that I would want to give is that if DTM is racing, we’d love to continue the partnership but if it doesn’t then we have back-up plans,” CEO Catherine Bond Muir told Motorsport.com. “We’re considering everything at the moment, we don’t operate in a microcosm.”
That said, partnering with F1 makes sense. Liberty Media has made a recent push toward diversity, and opening up a clear path from the W Series to F1 would be a smart move for the company. And for the W Series, putting your product in front of as many people as possible is always a smart move.