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W Series enters administration

W Series has gone into administration, less than a year after its third season was ended early due to financial difficulties.

Beitske Visser leads Marta Garcia

The all-female championship held its inaugural season in 2019 as part of the DTM’s support bill.

After the 2020 season was cancelled due to the COVID pandemic, the series returned, this time on the Formula 1 support bill.

It was forced to end the 2022 season early due to fundraising issues, with Jamie Chadwick securing her third consecutive title after the Singapore round last September.

The series had hoped to return in 2023, saying it was “extremely confident” there would be a fourth season.

But on Wednesday, Kevin Ley and Henry Shinners of Evelyn Partners LLP were appointed Joint Administrators.

Administrators said only one member of staff remained at the business and that they had also now been made redundant.

They also added that they will “explore all available options to allow the W Series to restart in the future.”

Kevin Ley, one of the Joint Administrators, said: “The news will be upsetting for the Company’s employees and drivers together with the worldwide supporters of the championship.

Catherine Bond Muir, CEO, W Series

Catherine Bond Muir, CEO, W Series

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

“The Company had been unable to commit to the 2023 race season due to its liquidity position.

“The directors had been in discussions with various parties to provide additional funding together with a potential sale of the business.

“Unfortunately, these discussions did not progress.”

Henry Shinners added: “The Joint Administrators will explore all available options to allow the W Series to restart in the future.

“We are seeking expressions of interest in the business and assets of the Company. We would ask that any interest is registered with us as quickly as possible.

“Staff had been made redundant or had left the business before our appointment and it has unfortunately been necessary to make the remaining staff member redundant.

“The Joint Administrators will be looking to support any staff impacted by the Administration, given the financial position of the Company, with making and progressing any claims with the Redundancy Payments Office.”

The series was essentially replaced by F1 Academy, which launched this year as a junior championship for female racers equivalent to F4.

Five-time W Series race winner Alice Powell tweeted after the announcement: “I am sad to learn of the news of W Series entering administration.

Race winner Alice Powell celebrates

Race winner Alice Powell celebrates

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

“At the end of the day, W Series got me out racing again, whether you agreed with the championship or not…

“W Series DID NOT fail. It inspired and created opportunities not just for its drivers, but for many young female racing fans too.

“I have many great memories from racing in the championship, including my win at the British GP in 2021, which will stay with me forever.

“Thank you to Catherine and everyone behind W Series for the memories.”

In a statement, F1 said: “It is a shame that this has happened to the W Series, and they should be applauded for their efforts to raise awareness and opportunity for female drivers.

“We will remain focused on the F1 Academy that is designed to be a genuine pipeline for female talent to get into higher formulas with the right support, training, and investment.

“This will give those drivers the opportunity to fight for a place in the feeder series and compete on equal terms and progress through the system.”

Former F1 driver David Coulthard, who was chair of W Series’ advisory board, said he was “extremely disappointed” in the news, but said the series had “succeeded in accelerating the change that was needed.”

The 13-time grand prix winner added that he remains committed to helping women reach F1, including through his More Than Equal initiative.

David Coulthard

David Coulthard

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Coulthard told Autosport: “Obviously everyone who has been part of the journey from concept to delivery is extremely disappointed in the recent news.

“A tremendous amount of effort went into creating the championship which rewarded talent by being free to enter removing the cost barriers for many talented women.

“It has succeeded in accelerating the change that was needed so although costly for the investors and many suppliers the legacy is many of the women competing today are household names either through their driving or the media opportunities that W Series helped create.

“I remain committed in my late sisters memory to make sure that young girls are given equal access to the programs readily available to the boys and firmly believe that in the future we will have women racing across all levels of motorsport including F1.”

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