Lewis Hamilton has acknowledged F1's attempts to address female inclusivity in motor racing but has called for "real research" to discover the root cause of inequality.
The sport launched the F1 Academy at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which aims to provide female drivers a pathway to the highest echelon of motorsport within the career ladder that supports F1.
Teams from F2 and F3 will run the cars for 15 drivers, which aims to provide a cheaper way into the support series.
Concerns have arisen over the impact on the already struggling W Series, which saw its season curtailed over funding issues, though F1 has insisted there will be no competition between the two.
Hamilton has been a leading advocate for equality in all facets within F1 and the wider society, with the seven-time champion visiting the W Series paddock at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Asked for his thoughts on the F1 Academy, the seven-time champion replied: "I have got to acknowledge something is being done.
"But if there was actually real research to find out why there is a small group of women, such a lack of women coming through, having the opportunity, we probably go back to karting, you would find it is not equal in go-karts.
"From my own experience, in the years I raced there were probably only two or three girls in my whole karting career, from eight to 16. There will probably be 40 boys and one girl maybe.
"So you have got to create a more inclusive environment.
"Inclusivity is an issue all the way down into karting so you can have a bigger pipeline of younger women trying to come through. Then that class will be good."