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W Series eyeing regular F1 support slot in 2021

The W Series could become a regular support category at Formula 1 events in 2021 if plans currently being discussed come to fruition

The 2020 championship - which was canned in June due to the COVID-19 crisis - was already supposed to visit the US and Mexican Grands Prix.

When the cancellation announcement was made it was stressed that both events would figure on any provisional 2021 schedule.

However the relationship between the all-female racing series and F1 looks set to expand further next year.

W Series has focussed on supporting DTM events, but with the series under threat for next season following the withdrawal of Audi it has had to look elsewhere.

As revealed by Autosport, plans are in the works to split Formula 2 and Formula 3 in 2021, with only one of the feeder categories appearing on any given grand prix bill.

That opens up track time for another support event.

Currently between them, F2 and F3 account for eight track sessions of free practice, qualifying and races, which could become just five in 2021, assuming that the single series featured at each event will expand to three races.

The three spare slots could potentially be used for free practice, qualifying and a race for the W Series.

PLUS: Why a sabbatical doesn't spell disaster for W Series

A closer relationship between the two championships would make a lot of sense for Liberty Media, as it will reflect its stated push for diversity - and possibly help to fast track a female driver into F1.

It would also be a huge boost for W Series sponsors such as ROKiT.

In July, W Series CEO Catherine Bond-Muir suggested the championship was already looking elsewhere for alternatives to DTM support slots.

"The message that I would want to give is that if DTM is racing we'd love to continue the partnership, but if it doesn't then we have back-up plans," she told Autosport.

"We're considering everything at the moment, we don't operate in a microcosm."

When the 2020 W Series was cancelled in June, F1 boss Ross Brawn stressed his support for the category.

"W Series has had an incredible impact on the world of motorsport, and we were excited to have them join our schedule this year," he said.

"It is a big disappointment for all of us that due to the difficulties presented by COVID-19 the events will not take place, but we are looking forward to some exciting racing in 2021 when W Series returns."

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