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10th October 2022, 18:0010th October 2022, 18:08 | Written by Will Wood and Claire Cottingham
W Series has confirmed it will not hold the final three races of its 2022 season and confirmed points leader Jamie Chadwick as champion.
The series’ CEO Catherine Bond Muir said next week’s race in Austin and the planned double-header season finale in Mexico City, both supporting Formula 1 events, will not take place due to financial concerns. However she remains “extremely confident” that W Series will return for a fourth season in 2023.
Chadwick, who comfortably led the W Series drivers’ standings following its last race weekend in Singapore, has secured her third successive championship, remaining the only driver to have been crowned champion in three seasons of the all-women single seater series.
“Under our regulations, to have a completed championship, we need six races,” Bond Muir explained. “We’ve had seven races. So, yes, Jamie is now the de facto champion.”
W Series’ financial concerns came to light prior to the most recent round in Singapore. Bond Muir had been hopeful of receiving financial support from backers that would allow the championship to conclude as planned in North America. She said talks are ongoing with potential backers, but they had to make the call last week to cancel the final rounds as the deadline for transporting equipment to North America loomed.
“I’ve said that we were speaking to a number of people and we have continued those discussions,” she said.
“We’ve had offers from a number of people, but the problem is getting money in doesn’t happen at the shake of a ‘money tree’. People have got to go through due diligence.
“So we believed up until this weekend there was a possibility for us to get to Austin and we’ve just had to call it because obviously there are deadlines on payments to things that need to be done. So we could have kept it on for a couple of weeks, but we just had to make a pragmatic today.”
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Bond Muir says she is sure that the championship will continue to run into a fourth season in 2023 and wants to return to race in North America.
“I am extremely confident that W Series will be here next year,” she said. “We’re racing next year. We’re definitely racing next year and hopefully in the United States.”
Bond Muir informed the W Series drivers about the cancellation of the final rounds in an online meeting held this afternoon. “It was incredibly similar to the conversation that I had with them about cancelling 2020 because of Covid,” she said.
“They are drivers. In their blood, all they want to do is race and they were incredibly upset. At the same time as them being upset, they were understanding.
“But really the feeling that came out of it was ‘this is rubbish but, Catherine, this is what we’ve dealt with for 20 years. We’ve had promises of money, we’ve had contractual commitments for money and they haven’t come through’.
“As far as we’re concerned at the moment, we want to keep the DNA of W Series going and it is our intention to still be providing all of the expenses for the drivers.”
However Bond Muir admitted she could not be “100 percent” sure the series will be able to award Chadwick and her fellow drivers their prize money for their championship standings.
“Where I sit at the moment, it is my expectation that will be paid out,” she said. “I can’t say 100% until the money, plus everything else in the working capital for the business going forward [is arranged]. But where I stand at the moment, I don’t see any reason why that won’t be the case.”
With Chadwick declared champion earlier than planned, Bond Muir drew parallels with Max Verstappen being declared Formula 1 world champion in confusing circumstances during yesterday’s Japanese Grand Prix.
“Obviously I am just tagging along on F1’s coattails about strange and unexpected finishes to championships,” she joked.
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- “It would be a massive shame if we lost W Series” – Horner
- W Series has until ‘end of next week’ to ensure it can complete final races
- Visser wins in last-lap sprint to the flag after Chadwick crashes out
- Chadwick sees ‘fantastic opportunities’ for female racers in US after test
- 2022 Singapore Grand Prix TV Times
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10th October 2022, 18:05
So North America ended up being a bridge too far?
11th October 2022, 8:17
Not really. It’s rather a wonky sponsor just not delivering @wsrgo. And despite the F1 people all talking about how sad and bad this is, not one of them is willing to chip in “pocket change” (about the amount of that 5% limit on minor budget cap infringements) to make it happen either.
10th October 2022, 18:17
So I now make it W Series, Formula 3 and Formula 1 who have all declared their champions in really odd circumstances this year? That’s impressively confusing…
F1 frog (@f1frog)
10th October 2022, 22:46
I saw a good stat that the F1, F2, F3 and W Series champions all were out of their cars when they won the championship (as Drugovich had also retired from the race in F2).
11th October 2022, 9:29
@f1frog the Max one is a little questionable – but good stat none the less. I tip my cap.
10th October 2022, 18:22
What an absolute embarrassment of a series. In an age where the push has been towards inclusion and equity between man and women in sports, they decided to create a series only for women. One that by definition, would have a lower bar by excluding the large majority of racing prospects. It is, therefore, little to no surprise that the series wasn’t taken seriously. Sadly for Chadwick, who I think is the only real talent in that series, it meant that she won’t not one, but three consecutive championships, and still couldn’t (at least as of today) manage to get a seat in another category.
Hopefully Chadwick manages to move away from this embarrassing trainwreck and do what every other talended girl does, which is race against the boys. This is not tennis, or football, or wrestling. Women are perfectly equipped to compete against man. There is absolutely no need to segregate, which is why no other category in motorsport segregates.
10th October 2022, 19:52
@ajpennypacker Surely it’s clear that the problem is a commercial one, not a fundamental flaw with the series? The reason the season exists (and why this year failed) is the same reason why we don’t have many ladies racing against the gents – the fact that nobody with the money will bankroll them (for any number of reasons).
W-Series was effectively designed to given the most talented women racers the chance to build a war chest in order to buy their way onto another series, but like everything it had ideas above its station and started following F1 around the world. Only they forgot the cost that entails (even when running F3 cast-offs) and also they lost the eyes of the general public when Sky & co bought into the promotion and airtime and it, like F1, fell off Free-to-Air.
Do we know why the sponsor pulled out? If I was putting my money into the series and felt the need to pull my cash, it wouldn’t be against the concept or the talent involved, but because it, like all series, decided to chase the money rather than concentrate on being its own thing…
10th October 2022, 20:46
I agree it’s a commercial problem, and while commercial motives aren’t exclusively linked with objective measures, I think we’d all agree that for the most part, sponsors go where people are watching, and if there is great talent petrolheads tune in. I’m always amazed by how many people watch karting, even when it’s very young children.
My argument is that the W-Series failed to produce or raise exciting talent. Failed to build enough credibilty that accompanies the champion of a series to get promoted to a more senior category.
Jamie Chadwick is no superstar in the context of F1 prospects. But she is a credible racer capable of being competitive in many categories. Her last year in European Regional F3 wasn’t stellar, but it wasn’t embarrassing by any means. But context matters. She was the only non-rookie in Prema, and all her teammates finished the championship in 1st (Gianluca Petecof), 2nd (Arthur Leclerc), and 3rd place (Oliver Rasmussen). She was 9th just behind a rookie Juri Vips.
So did Jamie do enough to justify a major sponsorship push on the basis of objective performance? At best it would be a marginal proposition. But we all know it’s not objective if it’s a woman because if a woman were to become a big star, the company that sponsored her early would find themselves with massive exposure. Still, Chadwick’s accomplishments weren’t enough.
I am all for more women joining motorsports. I would absolutely love to see women winning in F3, F2, and eventually F1. I just don’t think the W-Series is helping that cause. I think I’d rather see that “war chest” money go towards individual sponsorship of the most talented girls out there.
11th October 2022, 0:25
“Surely it’s clear that the problem is a commercial one, not a fundamental flaw with the series?”
A commercial problem is a SUBSTANTIAL flaw with the series. If it cannot fund the massive expenses the series incurred, that is a fundamental commercial flaw. It is a flaw that has been present since the day the series was created, it had no way of recovering the costs it incurs, it just burned through the initial investment and then built up a substantial debt that it had no way of paying back.
There are many women racers because there aren’t many interested to pursue it, then the number of those with the resources to pursue such an expensive hobby is smaller & the pool of those good enough is even smaller still. The same applies to male racers there are just more of them.
The most talented women racers are not racing in W Series nor were they ever going to. W Series is basically a mix of drivers who yet to drive F4, those that tried and failed & those are not good enough. They aren’t held back because they are women, it is because they are not good drivers.
Why did the sponsor pull out? Because there was no benefit or return to sponsoring the series. Setting fire to the money would have provided more of a return as it would have at least provided heat as it burned.
What some people just cannot accept is that these particular drivers are not talented. They can’t accept it purely because they are women. An endless list of equally as dire, as well as more capable, male drivers have found themselves in the position of not being able to get drives through funding.
11th October 2022, 14:18
“W-Series was effectively designed to given the most talented women racers the chance to build a war chest in order to buy their way onto another series”
I think this is an unfair assumption, if that was one made by the series organisers. Chadwick, if the prize money is dumped into her account with no additional clauses about how it should be spent, would be utterly foolish to give that to an F3 team for one season. That amount could amount to every penny she has. She’d be much smarter to invest that in anything BUT motorsport. It makes no financial sense. the risk reward ratio in that scenario is way out. She, as would ANYONE, be fully within her rights to bank that.
This idea that Jamie should just buy a F3 seat… the game don’t work like that. You need to secure funding for at least 2 years and not bankrupt yourself in the process.
10th October 2022, 19:54
@ajpennypacker Chadwick did have a seat in another category; she did a full season in the European F3 championship.
10th October 2022, 20:32
You’re right, I stand corrected on that point
10th October 2022, 18:23
Oh no! Anyway…
10th October 2022, 18:56
Goodbye W Series, however ill-fated your idea might have been from the get-go.
10th October 2022, 19:05
So Verstappen’s reign on “worst way to find out the championship has been won” only lasted a day, huh?
11th October 2022, 0:41
10th October 2022, 19:25
Makes one wonder: if many companies allegedly support inclusion, why does the series failed to find financial backing?
I insist: If the commitment is serious, FIA should simply take 5% of every F1 teams’ budget and drivers’ salary and fund the Wseries.
10th October 2022, 20:17
I believe it was only the funding for the US leg that failed to arrive, although I agree that the FIA should be putting more funding into these lower series instead of relying on them to find absurd commercial deals.
Give the level it operates at, with F3 machinery, it’s clear it should be operated like F3, with regional championships & with a final shootout involving the top drivers from each region, rather than globetrotting…
11th October 2022, 0:47
It has F3 Regional (increasingly known as Formula Regional to distinguish it from F3, now a higher level) machinery not F3 machinery, so it s a level below. The FIA don’t fund any series as far as I know, they are regulatory body not a financial provider. In this particular case the FIA is not even involved at all as W Series is not a FIA series, it doesn’t come under their jurisdiction it comes under the jurisdiction of Motorsport UK.
Chadwick’s failed attempt at FREC in 2020 prove that W Series is not even up to the standards of the series that use the same machinery, a couple of examples being FRECA that Chadwick was dire in & Toyota Racing Series, who’s cars W Series has been borrowing. Finishing 9th in a grid of only 9 drivers that entered the entire season, all of whom were younger & less experienced than her show the problem, albeit one many choose to ignore.
You are correct on W Series trying to pretend it is superior to what it actually was though and that is probably what contributed to it’s massive debts. It wanted to be seen as a far more prestigious & important series than it ever was going to be. Delusions of grandeur.
11th October 2022, 9:34
I didn’t know W Series wasn’t FIA regulated. That’s interesting. Is the Porsche Supercup? I just had an idea that the FIA would be reticent over series they don’t control appearing at F1 weekends. More of an insurance thing than a monopoly thing. What if a W Series driver smashed up the track beyond repair for the F1 race etc.
11th October 2022, 13:32
In this case the lack of support is even more egregious.
The US seems to be the land of such initiatives. Among all those supposedly ESG aligned companies none could write a check?
10th October 2022, 20:27
Did they find a future star, encourage more women to go racing, or raise the profile of women in motorsport? Would they have been better off funding a handful of seats in F3?
Did they make and break Jamie’s career?
10th October 2022, 22:26
They should found 3 seats in f2.. And 1 seat in F1..
In any case, I firmlky.believe getting in to F1 is mostly about correct backing..
Considering w series did not get backing… No wonder things did not work out
W series is a dead end… Like Haas seat.
11th October 2022, 0:54
It is on paper a F3 Regional series, sitting below F3 on the ladder. On that basis it feeds in to F3 at best, assuming the drivers are good enough even though evidence shows they are not. The best driver of the series was only good enough to be a backmarker in a real F3 Regional series.
Decent F3 drivers get F2 seats, not bottom end F3 Regional drives. Decent F2 drivers get F1 seats, not bottom end F3 Regional drives. Getting a driver into F3 from W Series is going to be a hard task, getting them into F2 or F1 is just utterly delusional.
W Series is a dead-end, because it exclusively picks the worst drivers ever to race cars. A good number of the W Series drivers have never even raced in F4. It had plenty of backing, it just achieved nothing and wasted an obscene amount of money doing so.
Dan G (@dang)
11th October 2022, 12:16
Crikey it’s only had three seasons over four years; you seem to be expecting results overnight! The whole point is to get new women in to single-seaters who otherwise would not have had the chance, and if they’re good enough, up the ladder they go.
Who knows, maybe there will be a new driver in the series next year who goes on to be the next Lewis Hamilton, who would not have been given a chance elsewhere, because the fact is motor racing is still “a man’s sport” for many people within it.
10th October 2022, 22:55
One of the main problems with the W Series is that they’re driving cars that nobody really cares to watch, no matter if they’re driven by girls or boys. Formula 3 races at best attract a small crowd of locals, and only those special one-off races like at Macau and Zandvoort are/were a notable event.
The GTE racers over at Iron Lynx have a much better concept to encourage female participation: hire female drivers (d’oh!). Their Iron Dame project is great, and with one race in the ELMS left to be run their male squad is 3rd in the drivers’ championship, while their female squad’s two permanent drivers (Bovy and Gatting) are 4th, both having scored a podium position (the men won at Monza, the women came 2nd at Spa).
Dan G (@dang)
11th October 2022, 12:17
Stephen Crowsen (@drycrust)
10th October 2022, 23:10
The series’ CEO Catherine Bond Muir said next week’s race in Austin and the planned double-header season finale in Mexico City, both supporting Formula 1 events, will not take place due to financial concerns.
Really, as a fan of mainly F1, I have to wonder if better promotion and broadcasting and making these races more accessible would have helped the W series. If we take the last W series race at Singapore as an example, there is an edited highlights lasting 1:51 (one minute and 51 seconds). Seriously, couldn’t this be done better? I subscribe to the F1 TV website so I can watch the F1 races, but it wasn’t until I was doing research for this comment that I realised I had access to most of the race on F1-TV. Here the video is almost 23 minutes long, which covers a race that’s about 30 minutes long.
One thing which F1-TV could do better, and really they should do this better, is to make the W Series races more visible by putting a “tab” at the top of the home screen where they have tabs to help people find the videos related to F1, F2, and F3. Besides omitting the W Series, F1-TV also omits mention of the Porsche Mobile 1 Supercup and the ESports series. I suspect the placement of tabs for these other racing series’s adjacent to those for F1, F2, and F3 is pretty easy for those who administer the website.
10th October 2022, 23:49
Stephen, totally agree that the coverage has been awful and they must surely know that it needed to be on free-to-air with decent coverage to get any sort of following in its formative years. The C4 coverage was a joke, but then their F1 coverage is pretty poor too, with far too much padding and punditry, pointless interviews with drivers, watching a presenter go for a jolly in an aeroplane etc. W series was just the same, but with an even lower portion of the programme dedicated to on track action. It rather feels like people wanted to be able to say “Look, we set up W series, what more could we do?” and then pretend they care about diversity.
10th October 2022, 23:34
Representation matters; most of the detractors of W Series have never not seen someone that looked like them on the grid at the highest levels. We’ll see if they can get back for next season, I hope so.
The world is better with more racing rather than less.
11th October 2022, 0:47
Definitely the world is better with more racing. Maybe it just shouldn’t be with a series where one’s sex is a disqualifier.
11th October 2022, 2:09
Swing and a miss. Considering that for most series for the past 100 years a woman participating was not just an oddity but intentionally an impossibility due to ingrained sexim, W Series seems like a non issue to me.
11th October 2022, 20:18
There was one series that made the drivers’ gender a qualification criterium.
If anything W series’ run has added to the argument that the best current female drivers are not quick enough to warrant competitive seats at the Formula 3 level or higher.
Tommy C (@tommy-c)
11th October 2022, 0:09
Well that is desperately sad. It’s been so good to sit down and watch races with my daughter and refer to the drivers as “she”. Representation matters! She’ll be getting in a go kart for the first time this week!
I hope the series can get it sorted and be back next year.
11th October 2022, 6:19
And I 100% hope she is talented and makes it all the way to the top on Merit. I would love to watch F1 with Female representative drivers that are there because they are good enough.
bull mello (@bullmello)
11th October 2022, 0:16
Very sorry the series is done for this season. Hope it breathes new life into it for next year.
Quite glad Jamie Chadwick is champion.
11th October 2022, 0:48
I mean, she’s pretty much the only talent in there by a long shot so it is only natural.
11th October 2022, 0:26
Jordan, totally agree with that too. Nowadays there is a huge appetite for women’s football and women’s cricket, with some superb competition between teams but go back a few years and the majority of the football community was openly hostile to the female game, and even now you get armchair experts who have to come in on every readers comment section trying to put them down, and whining about women getting specialist treatment.
I find it inconceivable that the top 20 drivers making it into F1 all happen to be male, and has been that way for years. Statistically that is virtually impossible unless there is gross gender bias. It is nonsense to think a woman doesn’t have the mental aptitude. Piloting an aircraft is more demanding than driving a car, and yet aviation owes so much to pioneers like Amelia Earheart and Amy Johnson and a string of lesser known names which history barely mentions, around 7% of US military pilots are female, and just a few weeks ago, 1st Lt Flannery became the first woman to pilot an F35. So next some ignoramus pretending to be intelligent will say “One woman out of 1500 F35 pilots, proves they can’t cut it”.
If we genuinely believe women should have the same opportunities as men we’ve got to make that happen, and as Jordan says, it needs to start with representation to break through those prejudices and barriers. It’s no good saying that women need to prove themselves first and pretending that’s reasonable. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
11th October 2022, 0:49
The solution to sexism is more sexism?
11th October 2022, 1:53
Sexism involves punching down (just like most othering), so let’s not be intentionally obtuse. Every other series is male dominated, why does one tiny little series that was meant to offer women a chance for exposure (which is now going under) offend you so?
11th October 2022, 6:21
It doesn’t offend me, it should offend the Women taking part in it to be categorised as not good enough to get through the standard way and thus needing a separate path, I would find that insulting.
11th October 2022, 17:59
You assume that “good enough” is a function of skill and you think the “standard way” is open to every driver.
Racing is not a meritocracy, it is a business and an expensive one at that; you hire drivers based on cost, what money they bring to the table, their exposure, their advertising and their connections for other things your team needs. Outside of full OEM teams who are using it as a write down for the marketing budget, most racing teams are a money pit.
Being good isn’t enough – every driver moving out of karting to single seaters or sports cars is good enough to win on the right day under the right conditions. You need a lot of things to consistently go right on and off the track to succeed.
11th October 2022, 6:20
For some people, the solution to any ‘ism’ is more of the same ‘ism’ in retaliation.
11th October 2022, 1:27
If we genuinely believe women should have the same opportunities as men we’ve got to make that happen, and as Jordan says, it needs to start with representation to break through those prejudices and barriers.
When I was racing SCCA National FF1600 too many years ago to even want to think about it, we had three woman who regularly raced; one was good, the others ok. Just as I did, they sponsored themselves and struggled to pay for new tires. I was spending 50% of my take home pay racing and I suspect they were doing the same. I never thought I should have some sort of special representation and neither did they. They were treated exactly the same as I was, they were racers and we interacted as racers. If you really want to race you do. Nothing is preventing women from driving race cars. Here in the US we have had a few women (not girls) race Indycar and they did it because they had some skill and drive. A single sex series is, in my opinion, anathema, as there is nothing stopping a woman from racing and there is no discrimination by sex. I was an okay driver and raced until I couldn’t afford it, just as many others do, men and women.
11th October 2022, 18:12
“Nothing is preventing women from driving race cars.”
Equality is not the same thing as equity.
There is massive social pressure in lower racing levels that girls shouldn’t be racing. That is is a boys sport. That they should go home and play with their horses. I’ve seen it in person on the grids in youth/amateur racing and to advance, you need to start building a reputation for success at a very young age so being pushed out at 5-10 basically ends your future with the sport.
11th October 2022, 20:34
I find it inconceivable that the top 20 drivers making it into F1 all happen to be male
Thanks to 4 years of W series, we now know that none of the dozens of drivers they managed to put in their seats has the talent to compete successfully in above F4-level machinery.
11th October 2022, 2:55
Give them V10s for the next season. Even if the driving talent doesn’t immediately increase there will also be more guys interested in watching and it will have a larger audience overall.
11th October 2022, 6:29
V10’s are probably a stretch – but there are the modern S5000 series cars that could certainly be more suitable.
F3-spec chassis with a 560hp Coyote V8 strapped in the back.
They are fast enough, challenging to drive, sound great and the crowds love them.
Michael Norman (@mick80)
11th October 2022, 3:57
I’m a firm believer in equality, but not at the cost of filling quotas to be seen as inclusive. So should she get a seat still in F1 is she is 5-10 seconds off the pace, just cause she’s a woman. It’s not right, you can’t take opportunities from others just to make a percentage of the population happy, I’m sure she wouldn’t want to be in F1 running last and lapped all the time. The same should apply across everything in life. those who are the most qualified get the positions
11th October 2022, 6:22
Agree, Everything for everyone on Merit
11th October 2022, 6:25
Maybe every F1 Team should be forced to have 1 Female driver and one Male Driver, but not separate championships.
11th October 2022, 7:18
I’m short at 5’6, I want a basketball series for short people and the best must be given Major league Basketball contracts and play in the top teams. It’s only fair, if not we are discriminating on grounds of height.
11th October 2022, 19:54
11th October 2022, 7:51
Do we need other series for people who identify as other than Male or Female? Rhetorical question just to indicate how ridiculous this PC stuff can become, there is no end, the only possible solution is everyone on Merit only.
11th October 2022, 19:57
1) Slippery slope is a fallacy, not an outcome.
2) You keep bringing up “merit” as if racing were based on merit. It is not.
11th October 2022, 9:05
Danica is still probably the highest profile / most successful female driver. One win and 7 podiums in IndyCar.
FIA equates IndyCar with F2 (for Super Licence points). So, although clearly very impressive, probably still not impressive enough for F1.
11th October 2022, 14:52
Susanne Raganelli is. She’s the only female FIA World Champion.
11th October 2022, 11:02
11th October 2022, 11:29
An Idea. As in football why not create a real W series where there are Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull etc.. Those are now the names almost everyone knows. It may not be an instant hit or a complete miss but if they want more visibility why not do it in a football way.
Only team I know is J racing and imagine Jamie Chadwick win in Mclaren rather than just J.
11th October 2022, 14:07
All the noise and hype from Sir Lewis about diversity, all the PR statements from the F1 teams about how great the series is for the sport, never mind the big window dressing from the FIA … and when the chips were down, none of them stepped up.
11th October 2022, 20:30
Why would anyone throw good money after bad, trying to somehow rescue someone else’s failed enterprise?
Cause that’s what W series was, in both its stated mission and apparently also in just plain being a profitable corporation.
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