W Series cancels 2020 season but reveals plans for F1 support races in 2021
The W Series has announced it has been forced to cancel all races in 2020 because of the coronavirus outbreak – but says plans are already in place for a "bigger and better" season in 2021.
The single seater championship for female drivers began last year with Williams development driver Jamie Chadwick crowned its first ever champion. The second season was originally set to kick off last month and would have included two support races for Formula 1 Grands Prix, but in a statement released on Thursday, organisers confirmed the series would be put on hold until 2021.
CEO Catherine Bond Muir said: “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, now that we have taken the very difficult but ultimately unavoidable decision to end any uncertainty surrounding our 2020 plans, we will focus our energies clearly on 2021, when we will resume our on-track racing programme, bigger and better than ever before."
Bond Muir revealed the plans for 2021 include the W Series joining the support bill for F1 at two races.
"We are already working on an exciting new W Series race calendar for 2021," she said, "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 Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.
“In the meantime, this year, we remain committed to developing our drivers and entertaining our loyal fans all over the world. To that end, we are progressing with our exciting and innovative new W Series Esports League, which will go live on June 11 2020.”
Ross Brawn, F1's Managing Director of Motorsports said: “W Series has had an incredible impact on the world of motorsport, and we were excited to have them join our schedule this year.
"It is a big disappointment for all of us that due to the difficulties presented by COVID-19 the events will not take place, but we are looking forward to some exciting racing in 2021 when the W Series returns.”