W Series, the open-wheel junior series contested solely by women in fully-funded rides, could be in dire straits, The Telegraph reports — to the point that the final races of this season are in jeopardy. This comes down to a combination of the high costs of starting a new race series and the recent plummeting of the British pound.
The Telegraph reports that sources informed the publication of significant financial concerns. As W Series heads to Singapore for its upcoming race this weekend, Telegraph says that a bare-bones crew will “not be sending anyone” in the series support crew to Asia. Further, Telegraph reports that other sources claim the series hasn’t paid “invoices worth thousands of pounds, some of which date back months” while Velocity Experience, the owner of W Series, is in debt.
It also provides some background:
W Series’ most recent accounts filed with Companies House on Sep 5 showed it had net liabilities of over £7.5million to Dec 31, 2021, which was deemed to be “in line with expectations given the business is in the start-up phase”.
Speaking on Wednesday night [W Series CEO Catherine] Bond Muir said the current global financial crisis, and depreciating pound, had only made her job harder.
Companies House is a registrar for British companies; it regulates and maintains company records. The aforementioned £7.5 million debt is considered a fairly normal expense for a massive start-up company, especially one that involves motorsport.
However, financial backers that could ease that debt have not been forthcoming, and The Telegraph reports that Bond Muir disclosed the difficulties of even finishing out last year — something that is only now exacerbated by an alleged American investor backing out at the very last moment.
Bond Muir is confident that W Series will soldier on, even if it just takes some financial finagling to eke out the rest of this season. But if worst comes to worst, The Telegraph notes that the final races of W Series’ season — doubleheaders in Austin and Mexico City — could fail to go ahead. W Series’ total prize pot of $1.5 million, the publication says, is not guaranteed to be distributed.
While W Series as a concept has faced some criticism, it is undoubtedly a positive thing to afford women more opportunities in the motorsport world.