FIA Launch All-Women Racing Series to Find Next F1 Star

W Series will use a grid of identical Formula 3-spec single-seater racing cars

The series starts in 2019 and will be free-of-charge to enter, but the series victor takes home a US$500,000 piece of the league's $1.5-million prize fund, and bolsters her hopes of moving up in the racing world to compete in Formula 1.

Many young female racers have praised the initiative, with British F3 victor Jamie Chadwick believing the scheme will open up opportunities for young women who aspire to move up the motorsport ladder.

Claire Williams, deputy principal of the Williams Formula One team, said this year that an all-female championship would be a "regressive step".

A new race series called the "W Series" is hoping to get more women who are interested in motorsports to participate.

"What a sad day for motorsport", she said.

"Those with funding to help female racers are choosing to segregate them as opposed to supporting them", she said on Twitter on Wednesday. "I am deeply disappointed to see such a historic step backwards take place in my lifetime". "Women need long-term support and trustful partners". "Want to be the best? However, an all-female series is essential in order to force greater female participation", organizers said in a statement.

Ginetta GT5 driver, Charlie Martin concurred with Mann by adding: "This series is founded on segregation, and while it may create opportunities for some female drivers, it sends a clear message that segregation is acceptable. As racers, we want to compete against the best drivers - regardless of age, race, sexual orientation or gender - and prove we are the best at what we do".

"Please compare it with economics: Do we need separate Women Management / Advisory Boards? No".

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"W Series aims to address that, and I heartily endorse that ambition".

The series, supported by long-time F1 driver David Coulthard, will be free to enter and participation will be awarded exclusively on merit and performances during a "vigorous" selection and testing process.

The "W Series", which will launch in 2019, will pit up to 20 competitors in identical Formula 3 cars around some of Europe's most famous race tracks. "And that's why I'm so pleased to be involved in W Series, to do what I can to contribute to creating a platform on which women drivers can improve by racing one another and from which they may then springboard their careers forward and, yes, ultimately race and indeed eventually beat their male counterparts". "It's no secret that motorsport is an incredibly tough industry often dictated by financial factors".

"I'm a racing driver and, if I could, I would race 365 days of the year".

"W Series is therefore a mission-driven competition, the aim of which is not only to provide exciting racing for spectators and viewers on a global scale, but also to equip its drivers with the experience and expertise with which they may progress their careers, racing and honing their skills in W Series before eventually graduating to existing high-level mainstream racing series". "I'm excited about what's to come!"

Mind, the first W Series vehicle is a Formula 3 auto.

The series is planning to expand in future seasons to feature races in America, Asia and Australia.

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