The W Series had a short but interesting debut season in 2019, and looked promising with a 2020 schedule that saw the all-women open wheel series playing to an international crowd. Not only was the series scheduled to join DTM weekends in Russia, Sweden, Italy, Germany, The UK, and the Netherlands, but it was planned to run in front of Formula One crowds at COTA and Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. On Thursday it was announced that due to scheduling complications caused by the lengthy coronavirus lockdown, the W series would not be racing at all this year.
Following DTM’s schedule revamp announced yesterday, all but two of the shared W Series and DTM weekends were completely gone from the calendar. Yesterday the W Series announced it was going over options to add itself to other DTM weekends and F1 weekends, but it would seem that nothing could be done, and it was decided today that the series would not race in meatspace until 2021.
The W Series has already begun competing virtually, as most racing series have, with a series of online races scheduled for the remainder of 2020. The W Series E-sports League begins a week from today and extends through mid-August in case you’re interested in watching these women battle it out in iRacing. Sadly, that will be the only place you can watch W racing until the series runs next year.
Series boss Catherine Bond Muir had this to say about the announcement: “After the resounding success of W Series’ debut season in 2019, our decision not to stage on-track races until 2021 is not one that has been taken lightly. However, we are already working on an exciting new W Series race calendar for 2021, and we are delighted to be able to confirm that W Series races will feature on the support cards of a number of Formula 1 Grands Prix next year, including the 2021 United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas and the 2021 Mexican Grand Prix at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.”
Obviously shutting down in the first place was the right move, and it doesn’t make sense to do international motorsport in the current global viral climate, but I find it curious that the series couldn’t find a way to run at least a few rounds in continental Europe with F1 and DTM, or even branching out to other FIA-supported series. For example, running with WTCR could have been an option. Obviously I’m not in charge, and I don’t know the full scope of the situation, but this seems like a dire situation to be in right now.
Is it possible that the series can even rebound from this massive setback?