W Series announces eight-race schedule as part of F1 undercard

W Series has announced a provisional eight-race schedule for the 2021 season, its first year as a Formula 1 support series.

The championship kicks off in June at Paul Ricard in France and concludes in October on the Mexican Grand Prix weekend, with races at Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps notable inclusions.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the championship was cancelled in 2020 but will return next year as part of the Formula 1 undercard, alongside Formula 2, Formula 3 and the Porsche Supercup.

British driver Jamie Chadwick won the inaugural title in 2019 at the final race at Brands Hatch and has gone on to compete in Formula 3 Asian Championship and Formula Regional European Championship.

W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir told a press conference on Tuesday that the Silverstone round was the race that she was particularly excited about.

“I am not going to pretend that people are going to go to the British Grand Prix to watch W Series alone, but I think it will be a fantastic adjunct to the race,” she explained.

“We have gone for iconic races in order to celebrate women being in motorsport because that is what W Series is all about.”

She added: “I think the partnership with Formula 1 is crucial for W Series as it gives us a much larger platform. We hope that significantly more people will be watching our live races and engaging with us as we have to have a successful financial model in order to be a long term proposition. We have a very devoted fanbase already and we need to expand that around the world.”

Formula 1 managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn said: “We are delighted to announce the eight Formula 1 races that W Series will join in 2021. There is a really exciting mix of circuits that will showcase the exceptional talent of the drivers in the series. We believe that it is incredibly important to give everyone the chance to reach the highest levels of our sport, and partnering with W Series shows our determination and commitment to building greater diversity across Formula 1.”

Further details regarding the schedule at each round and driver line-up are yet to be announced.

The confirmed dates for the 2021 calendar are as follows: 26 June, Le Castellet, France; 3 July, Spielberg, Austria; 17 July, Silverstone, UK; 31 July, Budapest, Hungary;  28 August, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium; 4 September, Zandvoort, Netherlands; 23 October, Austin, USA; 30 October, Mexico City, Mexico.

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