Uncertain Future: W Series Enters Administration
In a disheartening turn of events, the W Series, a groundbreaking all-female racing championship, has entered administration, leaving its future hanging in the balance. After a successful inaugural season in 2019 and a return in 2021 as part of the Formula 1 support bill, the series faced fundraising issues, leading to the premature end of the 2022 season. Jamie Chadwick secured her third consecutive title before the Singapore round in September. Despite initial hopes for a fourth season in 2023, the appointment of Joint Administrators Kevin Ley and Henry Shinners of Evelyn Partners LLP on Wednesday has cast doubt on the championship’s continuity.
According to the administrators, the company was unable to commit to the 2023 race season due to liquidity problems. The directors had engaged in discussions with various parties regarding additional funding and a potential sale of the business, but unfortunately, these discussions did not progress. As a result, only one staff member remained at the company, and even they have now been made redundant. The administrators have expressed their commitment to exploring all available options to revive the W Series in the future.
Kevin Ley, one of the Joint Administrators, acknowledged the impact of the news on employees, drivers, and worldwide supporters of the championship. He stated, “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.”
The news of the W Series entering administration has sparked reactions from the racing community. Five-time W Series race winner Alice Powell expressed her sadness, acknowledging that the championship played a vital role in getting her back into racing. Powell tweeted, “W Series DID NOT fail. It inspired and created opportunities not just for its drivers, but for many young female racing fans too.”
Formula 1 released a statement expressing their disappointment at the situation and commending the W Series for its efforts in raising awareness and providing opportunities for female drivers. They emphasized their commitment to the F1 Academy, a junior championship for female racers equivalent to F4, designed to offer support, training, and investment in a genuine pipeline for female talent.
Former F1 driver David Coulthard, who served as the chair of W Series’ advisory board, expressed his extreme disappointment but recognized the significant impact the series had in driving change. Coulthard stated, “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.”
While the W Series faces uncertainty, the determination to promote gender equality in motorsport remains strong. The hope persists that, in the future, women will have equal access to motorsport programs and will compete at all levels, including Formula 1, fostering a more inclusive and diverse racing landscape.