The real barriers to women reaching F1
The newly-launched single-gender W Series is being billed as the radical action needed to fast-track women towards Formula 1. But the flawed situation that makes such a championship necessary is going to limit what it can achieve
Football? Segregated. Basketball? Segregated. Cricket, tennis, athletics, rugby - all, to greater or lesser extent, segregated by gender. Motorsport is not, although if the purpose of not doing so is to allow the very best to fight one another in a fair environment, then to all intents and purposes its upper echelons might as well be. It's almost impossible for a female racing driver to reach Formula 1.
Hence the launch of the female-only W Series last week, an agent of change enforcing positive action, to a predictably spectacular division of opinion. Proponents love the idea of driving change, critics hate the idea of unequal treatment and sending a bad message. The middle-ground probably considers the intention laudable but also thinks the execution and/or targets could be flawed.
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
Having triumphed in club motorsport, and landed a prominent TV driving role, Abbie Eaton has struggled with that problem so many aspiring drivers face: raising a budget. Now her career has taken a new direction after joining the W Series grid
The first season of W Series can be considered a major motorsport success story, but at the same time certain elements of its philosophy were exposed as problems. For its second season, there's one issue in particular it needs to address
From falling into motorsport "by accident" to becoming the first W Series champion, Jamie Chadwick's career success has shown motorsport's capacity for change and suggests the wait for another woman to race in Formula 1 could soon be over
Sarah Moore is enjoying 2019 - on and off the track. The W Series frontrunner was recently announced as a driver ambassador for new LGBTQ+ initiative Racing Pride and shares her thoughts on tolerance and acceptance in motorsport
W Series met with mixed reaction from female racing drivers
W Series releases longlist of 55 drivers for 2019 18-car grid