W Series 2021: entries, preview and updates


The ultimate guide to the 2021 W Series, including full driver list, circuits and race dates

LONGFIELD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11: Jamie Chadwick of Great Britain drives her a Tatuus F3 T-318 during qualifying for the W Series round six and final race of the inaugural championship at Brands Hatch on August 11, 2019 in Longfield, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

W Series aims to give a platform to female racers trying to make it in motorsport

Dan Istitene/Getty Images

After being cancelled for 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the all-female W-Series is back for 2021. Read our guide below to find out who’s in it, where they’re racing on, when it’s happening and where you can watch it.

2019 saw Jamie Chadwick take the inaugural W Series title from Beitske Visser by ten points. The former graduated to Formula Regional whilst Visser raced at the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours but both will be back for 2021.

Being a both pioneering and controversial single-sex racing championship means that W Series has come in for both its fair share of praise and criticism (more of that below). With 2019 being something of a dry run, will 2021 be the year W Series truly announces and vindicates itself?


What is W Series?

W Series is the all-female single-seater championship designed to give a platform to women racers otherwise not afforded in other parts of motor sport.

It’s been 40 years since a woman raced in F1, and the championship’s advertised aim is to change that by giving the exposure and financial support needed to potential F1 candidates who might come through and win the W Series.

This aim has been further validated by F1’s recent endorsement of the series. The calendar currently consists of eight support races taking place on grand prix weekends.



Who are the W Series drivers? The full driver list:

The top twelve drivers from the 2019 W Series season qualified to enter the championship in 2020, which was then carried over to 2021 after Covid-19 forced the sophomore season to be cancelled.

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Six more drivers were selected via an on-track and interview evaluation process, with two more left to be announced.

2019 W Series title-winner Jamie Chadwick will return, and will be the only champion able to defend her title. The rules were changed following the first season to prevent future championship winners from re-entering the series.

2019 runner-up Beitske Visser, who also finished ninth in class with the all-female Richard Mille LMP2 team at Le Mans last year, will also be entering again.

Other notable entrants include Alice Powell, the first woman to win a Formula Renault Championship, who was third in the 2019 W Series, and BTCC driver Jessica Hawkins.

2021 W Series driver entry list

Driver Country
Ayla Agren Norway
Jamie Chadwick UK
Sabré Cook USA
Abbie Eaton UK
Belen García Spain
Marta García Spain
Jessica Hawkins UK
Emma Kimilainen Finland
Miki Koyama Japan
Nerea Martí Spain
Sarah Moore UK
Tasmin Pepper South Africa
Vicky Piria Italy
Alice Powell UK
Irina Sidorkova Russia
Bruna Tomaselli Brazil
Beitske Visser Netherlands
Fabienne Wohlwend Lichtenstein

When is the 2021 W Series championship?

The 2021 W Series season starts on June 26 at Paul Ricard in France, during the French Grand Prix weekend before supporting the Formula 1 World Championship at a further seven rounds.

The eighth and final round will be held on October 30 at Mexico City.


Where will W Series race?

The series will race at eight locations around the globe, on each occasion supporting the Formula 1 World Championship. The season begins in Europe and is due to conclude in October with an American double-header in Austin and Mexico City.

However, Formula 1 has been cautious about its own plans, which are highly susceptible to Covid-19 restrictions. Any disruption is likely to affect the W Series schedule.


W Series schedule: 2021 calendar

The W Series calendar is as follows:

Round Location Date
1 Le Castellet, France June 26, 2021
2 Spielberg, Austria July 3, 2021
3 Silverstone, UK July 17, 2021
4 Budapest, Hungary July 31, 2021
5 Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium August 28, 2021
6 Zandvoort, Netherlands September 4, 2021
7 Austin, USA October 23, 2021
8 Mexico City, Mexico October 30, 2021


What’s the W Series race format?

In its debut year, the W Series race usually took place on a Saturday. Drivers would then spend Sundays undertaking sim work to prepare for upcoming races.

At the 2019 Assen round there was a one-off reverse grid race held the day after the main race, with the starting order decided by championship standings.

Though the final race format details are yet to be announced, it’s likely we’ll see more experimentation in a bid to spice up the show.


What do you get for winning W Series?

The W Series winner receives $500,000 to go towards their racing career, whilst another $1m is divided up between the rest of the competitors on a sliding scale dependent on where they finished in the championship.


Where can I watch W Series?

W Series will be broadcast live by Channel 4 “across all platforms”.

All qualifying sessions and races will be covered, with David Coulthard and Lee Mckenzie leading a presentation team which also includes Ted Kravitz and Billy Monger.

You’ll be able to watch any qualifying sessions or races on-demand on the All 4 digital catch-up service.

W Series Chief Executive Officer Catherine Bond Muir commented on the Championship’s new deal with Channel 4:

“Live free-to-air motorsport coverage is rare, but our partnership with Channel 4 is a key part of W Series’ plan to create more visible role models to inspire girls and women to be a part of motorsport, whether that is on track, on screen or behind the scenes, and the expertise and insight provided by our brilliant commentary team will be instrumental to our efforts.”

Jamie Chadwick

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What cars race in the W Series?

W Series features spec machinery, with all entrants competing in Tatuus–Alfa Romeo F3 T-318s.

In its first year, race team HiTech Racing operated and serviced all the entrants’ machines, which carried championship livery and were rotated, with drivers assigned different cars each weekend. Drivers also had a different mechanic at each round in an effort to level the playing field.

All cars are fitted with Hankook tyres.


What have drivers said about W Series?

W Series has received praise and criticism in equal parts. No less than seve-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton came out in support of the championship when it was announced as an F1 support series:

“I’ve grown up and come through the other ranks, so I think it’s great what they have already done. And I think it’s definitely very, very important that they’re here on the global scale.

“When we talk about diversity, people often think that we’re talking about having more people of colour. It’s not just that, it is having more women involved. At the moment it is a male-dominated sport and that does need to change.”

His team-mate Valtteri Bottas concurred:

“I heard about the news today and I think it’s really good,” he said. “They’re obviously going to be more visible, that series, than what it was before and if you can succeed there, proceed and impress, you might have opportunities to go much further than that.”

“It should be followed, like any other women’s sport it’s, many times, underrated and it’s actually really interesting to watch, but there’s no coverage, so I think it’s a really, really good thing.”

However, some female racers haven’t been quite so effusive.

Speaking to Motor Sport before last year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, LMP2 and F3 driver Sophia Floersch said just what she thought about it in no uncertain terms:

“What the W-Series is doing might be a little bit wrong,” she said. “I mean, they’re giving some women opportunities to race, which is good. Of course if you don’t have anything [currently] or if you already stopped racing – and then through W-Series come back, it’s a great thing.

“But then the W-Series should never ever say that they are bringing the next woman to F1. Because to be honest, that’s complete bullshit.

“Jamie Chadwick was winning W-Series, last year she did a good job on everything. She got $0.5m, but now she wants to do [the championship] again.

“In the end she didn’t really step-up – much more money needed.”

Other were even harsher. British GT champion Charlie Martin described W Series as “founded on segregation”, whilst IndyCar driver Pippa Mann labelled it “an historic step backwards”.