Formula W (W Series)

RasputinLives

Not dead
Contributor
Back in the days of 606 I suggested that there should be a single seater series for female drivers to encourage more involvement in the sport. I was met with a response saying that I was being entirely prejudice and everything I was saying was wrong. That it was the equivalent of me saying there should be a series specifically for black drivers and that I was basically a nazi KKK member (that's how conversations went in 606). Anyways fast forward a decade and we discover David Coulthard obviously never posted on 606 as he is heading up a single seater series specifically for female racing drives. The W series - or Formula W they don't seem to have decided yet.

The idea of the series is that it's free to enter for any female driver. The champion will get £500,000 and there are money prizes for positions down the order. The idea is that its a good way for drivers to fund their way front the regular feeder series. There will be 18-20 drivers in the field all driving identical 1.8 litre Tatuus T-318 Formula 3 cars. Adrian Newy is involved in the series so whether he was involved in the design I don't know.

The series has been confirmed on the DTM calendar for every round and will start in Hockenheim on the weekend of the 3rd May. 5 other rounds confirmed including Brands Hatch on weekend of Aug 10th. The web site says there will be races in the US, Asia and Australia too but no sign of them yet. Maybe they mean in later seasons.

Who are the drivers? Well anyone wanting to enter had to apply and do some behind the scenes testing where they would be judged by an experienced panel. The panel were David Coulthard, Alexander Wurz and Dave Ryan (All McLaren old boys). Its all very X Factor. It was also said that they weren't looking for the fastest drivers but drivers who were the whole package. To me that sounds silly. Anyway the 28 who have made it to judges houses are as follows:


Sarah Bovy (Belgium)
Jamie Chadwick (UK)
Sabre Cook (US)
Natalie Decker (US)
Marta Garcia (Spain)
Megan Gilkes (Canada)
Grace Gui (China)
Esmee Hawkey (UK)
Jessica Hawkins (UK)
Shea Holbrook (US)
Francesca Linossi (Italy)
Vivien Keszthelyi (Hungary)
Emma Kimilainen (Finland)
Natalia Kowalska (Poland)
Stephane Kox (Netherlands)
Miki Koyama (Japan)
Milou Mets (Netherlands)
Sarah Moore (UK)
Tasmin Pepper (South Africa)
Vicky Piria (Italy)
Alice Powell (UK)
Gosia Rdest (Poland)
Naomi Schiff (Belgium)
Shirley Van Der Lof (Netherlands)
Beitske Visser (Netherlands)
Alexandra Whitley (Australia)
Fabienne Wohlwend (Liechtenstein)
Caitlin Wood (Australian)

The 4 names who jump out at me there are Vicky Piria who has mixed it up in F3, Beitske Visser who has banged wheels and looked fiesty in lots of junior formula, Alice Powell who is David Cameron's favourite racing driver and Jamie Chadwick who is very much poster girl for the whole thing and has done the rounds on BBC radio.

Anyway does anyone have any thoughts on Formula W? Think it's a great idea or think women shouldn't drive? Time to let us know. I shall be watching with interest as to if this series works.
 

Titch

Champion Elect
Premium Contributor
Well we have woman’s football, rugby, cricket, running, swimming in fact all athletics, and almost everything else you can think of, I can’t really think of a sport where women go head to head with men. So from that point of view, it’s about time there was a woman’s motor racing series.
 

Dartman

Points Scorer
Titch Show jumping, Eventing and Dressage in the equestrian world, plus horse racing and steeple chasing as well as point to point in the amateur side of horse racing, horse racing is not to be confused with equestrian sports, two different sports using the same basic chassis configuration, (Wheel at each corner, similar to circuit racing and rallying):).
I believe there are a few others but non I can think of offhand, though I'm sure there are some that will add to the list:whistle:
 

Angel

🧸 Smile, it might never happen.
Contributor
I have never believed women should be in F1 just because they're women and it's unfair not to have them involved as some have tried to say. For me, you become an F1 driver because you're one of the best and you deserve to be there. That is why I have never been on drivers being there just because someone has a big cheque book and pays for a drive either. So from that point of view I think a women's racing series makes sense.

As much as a lot of women try to say they are equal to men in every way, we're not. I will hold my hands up and say I know I'm not physically as strong as a probably an average man and I never will be. But there are other ways I'd probably out do an average man just because I'm a woman. What I'm trying to say is we all have our skills and ways in which we excel, trying to force both sexes to be the same will never work.

Would I watch a women's racing series? I'm not sure that I would to be honest and I have tried to come up with why I might say that only I seriously can't give you an answer, so there is no point asking me. I am not against it, I just don't seem to have much enthusiasm for it. That may change if it produces good racing though, I'll have to wait and see on that.
 

RasputinLives

Not dead
Contributor
To be fair to the series it seems to be focusing on giving the drivers in question a chance to secure funding to get through the normal process of the motorsports ladder. Which I guess is not the same as setting up a Woman's F1 series or something.
 

Olivier

Race Winner
Thanks for posting about this RasputinLives. I actually think it's a good idea and hopefully among these youngsters a few starts can make it to F1 even if it is only as test drivers. Out of that list the only name I knew from before was Jamie Cadwick. I read a bit about Megan Gilkes, the only Canadian in the list. She's apparently only 16 and has got a few races under her belt. I'm not sure I will be watching the series, if only because I highly doubt it's on over the air TV. Maybe they can do something really futuristic and stream the races on YouTube?
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff member
Premium Contributor
I'm all for it. It's a great way to give exposure to talented female drivers without them having to sprawl over a hot rod in their undies (Danica Patrick) or go out with a team owner (Giovanna Amati and Susie Wolff).

I'm more than happy to see talented female drivers given the opportunity to showcase their talent.

As some of you may recall, I've been quite vocal in my distaste for Mrs Wolff and her career in F1 and I still believe that stunts like that do massive damage to other female drivers.

I probably won't watch the series because I tend to watch very little motorsport these days but good luck to them.
 

Olivier

Race Winner
Olivier I imagine as it's part of the DTM schedule that it'll get air time in Eurosport. Do you get that over there?
We don’t and a quick Google search tells me I need to be in the UK to get it. Nothing a VON can’t fix, but then again, my entertainment budget is already allocated so I’m out of luck :•|
 

RasputinLives

Not dead
Contributor
So the 18 drivers who will compete in the W Series have been announced today. They are as follows with the series they've competed in after their name - it's a copy and paste job so if looks a bit jumbled it's because I'm lazy.

Jamie Chadwick British F3, British GT (GT4 champion)
Sabre Cook Road to Indy, US F4
Marta Garcia Spanish F4
Megan Gilkes F1200 Canada
Esmee Hawkey Porsche Carrera Cup GB
Jessica Hawkins Mini Challenge
Shea Holbrook Lamborghini Super Trofeo
Emma Kimilainen STCC
Miki Koyama Japanese F4
Sarah Moore LMP3, Ginetta Junior (champion)
Tasmin Pepper VW Engen Polo Cup
Vicky Piria GP3, European F3 Open
Alice Powell GP3, Formula Renault UK (champion)
Gosia Rdest Audi TT Cup, GT4
Naomi Schiff Formula Renault 2.0, GT4 European
Beitske Visser Formula Renault 3.5, GT4 European
Fabienne Wohlwend Ferrari Europe
Caitlin Wood Blancpain GT

No surprise Jamie Chadwick and Alice Powell made the list. Visser is the only one I've seen race reg. Good range of countries represented with US, Canada and Australia all in there.

Anyone catch your eye?
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff member
Premium Contributor
Only familiar with a couple of those names but I hope this series goes well and does provide a route into the upper levels of motorsports.

Have the FIA graded this series for super license points and if so, how is it ranked compared to similar formula??
 

RasputinLives

Not dead
Contributor
According to my sources (Wikipedia) the winner gets 15, and then it goes 12, 10, 7, 5, 3, 2, 1. This is same grade as DTM, Indy Lights and the F3 Regional Championships.

Higher than I thought it would be.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff member
Premium Contributor
I was going to say that's bizarre but then read the article.

What is at the forefront of the decision is cash, cash and more cash. All you can see for the first half of the text is how amazingly amazing the interest in backing the series has been. So amazing in fact that they are working really hard to get amazing levels of amazing sponsorship to provide huge levels of cash.


Obviously instead of inspiring future generations of females in motorsports they are looking to inspire future generations of sponsors.

Amazing
 
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