Formula One's managing director for motorsport Ross Brawn says W Series has been "a beacon to many" since the championship started.

MotAlice Powell of Great Britain celebrates winning the W Series race with Emma Kimilainen of Finland and Beitske Visser of the Netherlands, Brands Hatch, West Kingsdown, Britain, August 11, 2019.
MotAlice Powell of Great Britain celebrates winning the W Series race with Emma Kimilainen of Finland and Beitske Visser of the Netherlands, Brands Hatch, West Kingsdown, Britain, August 11, 2019. (Reuters)

The all-female W Series will support eight Formula One race weekends next season as part of a multi-year deal that will also help raise the profile of women in a male-dominated sport, organisers have said.

The series started up in 2019 but cancelled racing this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It has yet to be decided at which of the record 23 F1 races the W Series will also be held.

“We believe it is incredibly important to give everyone the chance to reach the highest levels of our sport,” F1 managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn said. 

"Their partnership with Formula 1 next season shows our determination and commitment to showcase their exciting series and the importance of building greater diversity.”

Partnering with Formula One

No details were given about which grands prix the series would race at, although founder and chief executive Catherine Bond Muir told reporters F1's season-opener in Australia in March was probably too early.

This year's cancelled championship would have supported grands prix in Mexico and the United States in October and that could again be a possibility.

"When we promised that W Series would be bigger and better in the future, partnering with Formula One was always our ultimate objective," said Bond Muir.

"There is no doubt that, now that W Series will be run alongside and in collaboration with Formula One, our global reach, impact and influence will be increased significantly."

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No female lead since 1970s

Britain's Jamie Chadwick was the inaugural champion of the series, which featured six rounds supporting the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) and paid out $500,000 to the winner.

Top drivers in the series, which uses identical 1.8 litre Formula Three cars, will be eligible for points towards an FIA super licence needed to race in Formula One.

Formula One, which this week published a draft 2021 calendar with a record 23 races running from Australia in March to Abu Dhabi in December, has not had a female driver compete in a grand prix since Italian Lella Lombardi in 1976.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies