Catherine Bond Muir: “I want us to be an inspirational brand for young girls all over the world”

Catherine Bond Muir came into the spotlight after an idea she had whilst on maternity leave skyrocketed into a vision beyond her wildest dreams. The former lawyer dreamt up the concept of W Series after giving birth to her son. Now, she watches in awe as 18 women compete in front of packed grandstands as a support race for Formula 1.

That’s the power of hard work, grit and determination.

“Women should support women,” the Chief Executive Officer of W Series tells Females in Motorsport.

Last year, instead of stitching together a calendar that would've most likely raced in one country with half of the competitors present, the series made the decision to put the championship on hold until 2021. This resulted in it coming back stronger than ever by racing on the biggest stage motorsport has to offer.

However, 2020 was by no means a walk in the park for their CEO who had questioned whether the series was going to even survive.

“We were having very advanced conversations with some sponsors and they just fell out overnight,” she says. “The world stopped literally. There was obviously months and months trying to figure out whether we were going to race or not.

“It gave us the time to do the F1 deal that you’ll appreciate took quite a lot of time to get over the line. It was Chase [Carey] who wanted to do the deal so it was fantastic that it was led from the top because he made it happen.”

It’s a relief to hear that the pinnacle of motor racing has welcomed W Series with open arms - a positive step not only for the championship but also for equality in motorsport.

“They’ve treated us really well and I’m not just saying that,” she says. “The support that we’ve received from them is really extraordinary. They can promote us in a way that we can’t promote ourselves just because of the size of their platform in comparison to us. But, we’ll get there. I’m not sure when, but we will.”

The third round of the 2021 season was held at Silverstone in front of capacity crowds. Females in Motorsport were there, cheering on a grid of talented female racers. It was special. A goosebumps moment.

“Silverstone was just really extraordinary,” Catherine says. “Words can really describe the personal effect on me just thinking where it all started and then being at one of the largest sports events of the world.”

The feedback that Catherine and the team have received from fans and the very top has been staggeringly positive and rightly so.

“I’m just a boring old lawyer and people constantly came up to me and said they thought W Series was great and it was brilliant,” Catherine says. “Having that feedback from the fans that people really enjoy us and our racing and the brand and everything that we stand for is brilliant.”

All of this is important as Catherine wants the series to be as open as possible - a stark contrast to traditional motorsport series which are well known for being closed off to fans.

“I want us to be accessible,” she says. “We’re about engaging with people. My belief is that people want to engage with individuals and people, and in order to do that we need to be as accessible as possible.”

2021 brought the introduction of teams. With nine teams on the grid having two drivers each, this has been a welcome addition to the series for Catherine and a “crucial lifeblood”.

“We’re having people who want to get involved with us commercially,” she says. “Ultimately, we’re a business and not a charity. It’s of absolute utmost importance that we have those teams because that assures our future for many years.