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Formula 1 United States GP

F1 to launch female-only series for younger drivers

Formula 1 is planning to introduce its own female-only championship as early as 2023 – and sources insist it will not be a direct rival to the W Series.

F1 flag flies in the morning

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Instead it will be pitched to younger drivers of around 16 and older, and it will be seen a direct feeder series to F3 and subsequently to F2.

Although nothing has been confirmed it is likely that F4 machinery will be used, and the series will be run under the umbrella of the existing F2/F3 organisation, with the cars fielded by the teams already involved in the existing championship. It’s expected that there will be a grid of around 12-15 cars.

No firm details have been forthcoming from F1 but a spokesperson noted: “We are committed to ensuring greater opportunity for talented women drivers to progress and reach the top levels.”

W Series joined the F1 support programme in 2021, but the future of the organisation remains in doubt after it hit financial troubles and the final two rounds of this season were cancelled, leaving Singapore as the final race.

F1 sources indicate that if W Series does survive and returns in 2023 it can run alongside the new initiative, as it features faster F3-style cars and older drivers.

Jamie Chadwick leads Abbi Pulling, Fabienne Wohlwend

Jamie Chadwick leads Abbi Pulling, Fabienne Wohlwend

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

On Thursday Lewis Hamilton suggested that F1 should do more to encourage female drivers.

“There has not been enough focus on women in sport for the whole of F1’s life,” he said. “There is not enough emphasis on it now. They're not magnifying enough the great work that is being done there.

“There is not enough representation across the board within our industry. There is not really a pathway for those young, amazing drivers to even get to F1.

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“Then you have some people who say, ‘We’re never going to see a female F1 driver’. That’s not a good narrative to be putting out. So, I think we need to be doing more.”

He also suggested that F1 could have stepped in and saved W Series: “With the organisation, with F1 and Liberty doing so well, it was not a lot for them to be able to help out in that space.”

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