W Series joins F1 support bill at eight races in 2021
Formula 1 has announced the W Series is to join its support roster at eight races in 2021.
The all-female W Series raced alongside DTM in its inaugural year, with six championship races being contested across Europe.
The series had been due to expand its reach in 2020, with a plan to again contest six rounds alongside DTM, but with a further two rounds added in Mexico and the United States where it would form a part of the F1 support package.
With cost-cutting measures meaning current support championships F2 and F3 will no longer race on the same weekends as one and other, a position to join the F1 support bill emerged, eight races of which have now been filled by W Series.
With F1 pushing a message of "We Race as One" this year in a bid to increase equality and end discrimination, F1 managing director of motorsports, Ross Brawn, welcomed Thursday's announcement.
"We are excited to announce our 2021 season this week and look forward to a thrilling season with an exciting mix of new races and established circuits that we missed during our unprecedented 2020 season," Brawn said.
"It is a really important moment for us to welcome W Series as partners for eight races this season. They have been a beacon to many since they began racing in 2019.
"We believe it is incredibly important to give everyone the chance to reach the highest levels of our sport and their partnership with Formula 1 next season shows our determination and commitment to showcase their exciting series and the importance of building greater diversity across the sport."
The exact races W Series will feature at have yet to be announced, although it is likely the series would be interested in retaining its slots in Mexico and the United States that had been planned for this year.
W Series CEO, Catherine Bond-Muir, said: "Formula 1 is by some margin the world’s premier motor racing series, and, when we promised that W Series would be bigger and better in the future, partnering with Formula 1 was always our ultimate objective.
"There is no doubt that, now that W Series will be run alongside and in collaboration with Formula 1, our global reach, impact and influence will be increased significantly.
"Everything that made W Series so popular and successful in 2019 will remain. The cars will be identical, the racing will be close and competitive, and our mission will always be to further the interests and prospects of female racing drivers.
"We want W Series to entertain, and entertain it will. But we also want it to become a crucial default-option stepping stone for any female racing driver who wants to carve out a professional racing career, and our proximity to Formula 1 will help and enhance that process. The fact that W Series is now eligible for FIA Super Licence points will also be an important factor in that regard.
Making reference to F1's push for equality, Bond-Muir added: "We are very grateful to Chase Carey, Ross Brawn and their colleagues for having faith in W Series, and for prioritising diversity and inclusion in this way, and we intend to help them drive forwards their excellent #WeRaceAsOne programme this year and in years to come."
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