Written by Aimee Palmer, Edited by Sameena Khan
The W series has become one of the most influential parts of the motorsport industry. Its aim to inspire more women into this male dominated profession, provides a new rise of talent from a diverse range of drivers. This equal opportunity series allows women from all backgrounds to enter based purely on talent and without a financial burden, which within motorsport has been a high barrier for many drivers to overcome. With the likes of talent such as Jamie Chadwick, Alice Powell and Beitske Visser, the W series is definitely one to watch.
With the ever growing viewership of the W series, we can only expect more women to realise the opportunities they can have within this barrier filled industry. At the 2022 Lenovo British Grand Prix in Silverstone, the W series had a record breaking weekend with over 1 million viewers who tuned in to watch in the UK. Many women and young girls will be inspired by this series increasing the amount of people entering motorsport events worldwide. We can only hope that this will have a butterfly effect and we can see more women on the grid in years to come.
Additionally, this series has also helped many women realise that they are able to do STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects and careers. With STEM subjects being mainly male dominated, we have a lack of women in the paddocks and pit lanes in numerous motorsport events. With the W series showing that women can do these subjects and be involved in this industry, they are opening doors for new talent off the grid. In motorsport we all know it's a team effort, and by having more people entering the industry on the whole can only make teams better.
With the W series consisting of 8 races all of which alongside Formula One, allows us to see the talent and passion these women have for racing. We haven't seen a woman start a championship Formula One Grand Prix in more than 45 years, but with this series this long break for women could be coming to an end. We have seen years of greatest moments, tears, excitement, aggression and brilliant racing all of which have been men. The W series reveals the industries true colours and is fighting for the equality women deserve in this industry.
Lewis Hamilton having recently visited the W series paddock during the Hungary Grand Prix weekend, which inevitably created more awareness of this series but also highlights his passion to gain equality within this sport. Hamilton pointed out that “for these women there is no progression from the W series” quoted from GPFans. And that “when you win that, do you progress into GP2 (F2)” . These women need more support so this talent can progress and with Hamilton's passion to help, this will be a really big change for the W series. Top drivers such as Jamie Chadwick of whom is backed by williams racing, may have the opportunity to start breaking these boundaries and progress further into the sport.
Back to my question, why is the W series so important to the future of motorsport? Isn’t it obvious, it is the future. Its drive and aim for women to be on the F1 grid, proves this series will help the change this industry needs. All we can hope is that in time women will start to progress through the pathway to Formula One. I have no doubt in my mind that in the near future barriers will be broken and opportunity will come about for women once again. Who knows where these talented drivers will end up?
Don't forget to watch the next W series weekend in Singapore between 30th September - 02nd October to cheer on the fantastic inspirational women and see the change we finally need.