Michele Mouton criticised for negative W Series comments

Rally legend Michele Mouton has been criticised after saying that W Series is a “limited and discriminating” championship.

Michele Mouton criticised for negative W Series comments

The 1982 World Rally Championship runner-up said in an interview with Le Figaro that there was a “limited level” in the all-female series “since the best performers don't participate.”

Mouton, head of the FIA's Women in Motorsport Commission, said: “If the W Series can be seen as a detection/selection channel to attract more young women into motorsport and allow them to move up to the higher mixed categories to continue their progression, as our Girls on Track karting programme does, then I'm all for it!

“If not, this championship will remain, in my eyes, limited and discriminating with women only allowed to compete against each other.

“The best drivers who are already in professional teams of course don't want to race in the W Series, which also explains the limited level of the Series since the best performers don't participate.”

She added: “Personally, I believe that as long as they will not be confronted with the competition of the boys of their generation, it will be difficult to emerge in Formula 1, where it is no longer a question of being one of the best women, but one of the best drivers in the world, and for that the road is still long.”

The four-time WRC rally winner said that while initiatives which contribute to the promotion of women in motorsport are positive, she “encourage[d] the best of this series to perfect their training in F4 or F3 and to challenge the men in our 'single-seater pyramid' which is mixed”.

But she came under fire for the comments on social media, with current W Series title challenger Alice Powell tweeting that Mouton needed to “check her facts”.

Powell, who finished second in the series in 2019, said: "I feel [Mouton] may need to check her facts.

Alice Powell

Alice Powell

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

"Getting out driving will help create opportunities! Some of these drivers, who are in professional drives, wanted to do W Series but couldn't due to clashes."

W Series commentator David Coulthard previously said that he was surprised that some notable women in motorsport had not been very supportive of the series, while CEO Catherine Bond Muir said the Series had built “fantastic platforms.”

She said: “I was sympathetic with a lot of the naysayers to begin with, because I had gone through that process myself and deciding whether I think a single seater women's only racing series was a good thing or not.

“So I had myself gone through all of those emotions. But because I was involved in the evolution of it, I think a lot of the criticisms were based on one, that we would be patronising women, and I think we've demonstrated that we haven't, it is about promoting women, and none of the drivers have certainly ever seen themselves as any less than a very powerful athlete themselves, and we would never treat them otherwise.

“But also, we've built fantastic platforms. This year, we are going to be in even more households than we were in 2019. So we are about raising the profile.

“I think that we answered a lot of our critics – Abbie Eaton, for example, was a reasonably strong critic.

"And hey ho, she's racing with us, and she said she made the wrong call because she missed out on the first season and she would have been further down the line as a single-seater racing driver if she had joined us.”

shares
comments

Related video

W Series Spa: Kimilainen wins after sweeping past Chadwick in wet race
Previous article

W Series Spa: Kimilainen wins after sweeping past Chadwick in wet race

Next article

W Series Zandvoort: Chadwick leads practice from title rival Powell

W Series Zandvoort: Chadwick leads practice from title rival Powell
Load comments
How W Series' standout star took the challenge to its champion Plus

How W Series' standout star took the challenge to its champion

Heading into 2021, much of the discussion around W Series centred on Jamie Chadwick and her fight for a second crown. Chadwick duly won out, but only after a season-long battle with Alice Powell, who came into the final double-header level on points and almost stole the show

W Series
Dec 2, 2021
How Chadwick’s second W Series title poses more questions than answers Plus

How Chadwick’s second W Series title poses more questions than answers

Jamie Chadwick successfully defended her W Series title as the series returned after a year out due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She saw off a fierce fight from Alice Powell to keep the crown but with both looking to climb the motorsport ladder, what is next for both the two star drivers and series itself?

W Series
Nov 29, 2021
How W Series can confront its biggest enduring issue Plus

How W Series can confront its biggest enduring issue

Two-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick finds herself in a predicament. The Williams F1 development driver has more than proven herself in the all-female series and has little to gain from returning. But where should she go next? And how will the series move forwards if she elects to take up her reserved slot on next year's grid? Whatever she decides, it poses important questions for the series' future

W Series
Nov 5, 2021
The nightmare season of a W Series title favourite Plus

The nightmare season of a W Series title favourite

She came into 2021 as a W Series title contender, but Beitske Visser has had a frustrating season, marred by a horrific crash at Spa and floundering in 12th place in the drivers’ standings. After misfortune and on-track clashes, the Dutch driver wishes the season was just starting now

W Series
Oct 20, 2021
The rational brain of W Series' outside title bet Plus

The rational brain of W Series' outside title bet

As the only mum in W Series, Emma Kimilainen has a different perspective than many of her rivals. After her swashbuckling drive to victory at a sodden Spa, the Finn now has a real chance of getting into the title fight, and can call on an approach that has been a boost through myriad past disappointments

W Series
Sep 3, 2021
The comeback trail Brit making the most of a second chance Plus

The comeback trail Brit making the most of a second chance

After four years of making only irregular race appearances, Alice Powell had good reason to believe that her dreams of becoming a professional driver were over. But W Series has provided a second chance that she has firmly grasped, Powell's popular home win at Silverstone prompting the new series leader to look ahead to a bright future

W Series
Jul 30, 2021
Why W Series' champion is taking nothing for granted ahead of its return Plus

Why W Series' champion is taking nothing for granted ahead of its return

W Series is back this weekend after a year away. This time it’s supporting F1, and reigning champion Jamie Chadwick is up for the challenge of taking another title - but knows with higher stakes will come even more motivated opposition

W Series
Jun 24, 2021
Why a sabbatical doesn't spell disaster for W Series Plus

Why a sabbatical doesn't spell disaster for W Series

W Series finally got off the ground in 2019 despite its critics and had expected to build on its momentum this season. Instead the COVID-19 crisis has put its plans on hold, but for the fledgling series it could prove a blessing in disguise

W Series
Jul 27, 2020