In the entirety of Formula 1, there has been no female Formula 1 Grand Prix race winner, let alone a world champion. In fact, it was back in 1976 when we last saw a female driver, Lella Lombardi, competing in the prestigious open-wheel racing series. However, that could soon change with the introduction of the upcoming women-only 'W-Series' which is set to launch in May 2019.
The upcoming W-Series hopes to bring around 20 of the world's leading female racers to compete for a cash prize of $1.5 million US (Php 81 million) and a potential Formula 1 seat, where they'll be able to go toe-to-toe with their male counterparts.
To standardize the races, all female drivers will be using identical Taurus Formula 3-spec cars which are powered by 1.8-liter engines. Much like Formula 1, the cars will also be equipped with a Halo safety device. They will then be racing in numerous circuits all over the world, similar to how Formula 1 is being run.
W-Series is free to enter for any female hopefuls. However, each driver will have to earn their place on the grid through a variety of programs, on-track testing, fitness trials, etc. They will then be judged by various pesonalities in the sport including ex-Formula 1 driver David Coulthard, Redbull boss Adrian Newey, and F1 team manager Dave Ryan to name a few.
“At the moment, however, women racing drivers tend to reach a ‘glass ceiling’ at around the GP3/Formula 3 level on their learning curve, often as a result of a lack of funding rather than a lack of talent. That’s why an all-new all-female single-seater motor racing series is required – W Series – to establish a competitive and constructive motorsport habitat in which our drivers will be able to equip themselves with the necessary skill-set eventually to move on up to existing high-level mainstream racing series and compete with the best male drivers on equal terms,” said Coulthard.
With the introduction of the W-Series, it hopes to bring back female drivers into Formula 1. Who knows, in the following years, we could see the first female Formula 1 driver on the podium and potentially a future world champion.