Diversity – in every single form – is paramount in society and, too, the motorsport industry.
Change doesn’t come easy, but with the backing of key personnel who believe that seeing more women in motorsport is important, each day is one step closer to having that representation in our sport.
Since its inaugural season in 2019, W Series has played an integral role in offering racing opportunities to women from all over the globe. Last year, W Series announced a partnership with Formula 1, and across seven rounds for the same season, a grid of 18 drivers plus a roster of reserves battled it out on track in support of the pinnacle of motorsport.
Karun Chandhok, a former Formula 1 driver and current Motorsport UK Diversity Board Member, strongly supports the movement for more women in motorsport.
“W Series helps because it shows young girls that they can be professional racing drivers,” Chandhok tells Females in Motorsport. “It shows that they can get involved, so in 10 years time, they can be knocking on the doors of Formula 1.”
The overriding factor for Chandhok is that in motorsport you can race each other no matter your gender.
“We’re very lucky to have a sport where women and men can compete equally,” he says.
Advances in technology have aided the opportunity for equal competition.
“With power-steering and how downforce works, I don’t think there’s a physical disadvantage anymore for women,” Chandhok says.
However, these issues are not ones that can be changed overnight.
“Socio-economic differences are one of the biggest things that people don’t talk about. How do we get people from lower income groups into the sport and competing in the sport?
“If you can figure out a solution for that, you’ll tick a lot of boxes in terms of pulling people in.”
Stefano Domenicali, the CEO of the Formula One Group, believes that the partnership between W Series and F1 will encourage more female visibility at the highest level in the sport.
“We are really looking forward to making sure that the grid is ready to have a female in Formula 1,” he says. “It’s very important."
W Series extends its partnership with Formula 1 for the 2022 season and will race on four different continents.