The final three races of the 2022 W Series season were cancelled due to expected funding falling through; organisers said the cancellations had been made to enable them to focus on funding for 2023; Formula 1 has since launched an all-female F1 Academy category that will start in 2023
Last Updated: 07/12/22 9:34am
Three-time champion Jamie Chadwick says she hopes the W Series “can survive and continue” alongside Formula 1’s newly-announced category for women.
Chadwick sealed her third successive W Series championship in 2022, but her celebrations were dampened by the final three races of the season being cancelled due to expected funding falling through.
Organisers said the cancellations had been made to enable them to focus on funding for 2023, but there has been no significant update since that decision was made in October.
However, in November, Formula 1 announced the launch of its own all-female category, F1 Academy, which will start in 2023.
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“It (W Series) has been a life-changing opportunity for me over the past few years and for the other girls as well and everyone else involved in the series,” Chadwick told Sky Sports News.
“It’s proven to be a very positive platform in providing these chances for us all to go racing. I really hope it can survive and continue on next year.”
Chadwick, who will not compete in either of the all-female categories next year after signing a deal to make her American racing series debut in Indy NXT, is hopeful W Series and F1 academy can both thrive.
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“From my side, I think anything we can to do to encourage more girls into the sport is key,” she said. “I think the fact that F1 have created a new opportunity for drivers to be doing that is fantastic.
“I’d love to see that alongside W Series as well, and we can see more and more young girls get involved in the sport as a result of it.”
‘F1 Academy cost could be a barrier to entry’
Unlike the W Series, where entrants didn’t need to provide their own funding, F1 Academy drivers will need to match £130,000 provided by F1.
Upon the launch, F1 said the financial figure drivers need is a ‘fraction of the usual costs to enter comparable series’, and the rest of the budget will be provided by the five teams in the category.
Chadwick praised F1 for subsiding the new competition, but also warned the cost for drivers could be a “barrier to entry”.
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“One side of it is that it’s heavily subsidised,” she said. “If you compare it to any other motorsport, it’s considerably better value. So in that sense, it’s a very, very good deal that they’re offering the drivers.
“But on the flipside, it’s still a substantial amount of money that a lot of young drivers don’t have. It will be interesting to see if that becomes something that makes it a bit of a barrier to entry, even though it is subsidised.
“I think that’s the big benefit with something like W Series and the huge opportunity that we all had, was that sort of painful barrier of trying to find the budget was negated and wasn’t something that we had to worry about.
“We’ll see, but it is heavily subsidised, so if you compare it to anything else, it’s a great opportunity for them.”