W Series to race at eight Formula One weekends in 2021 season

W Series, the all-female motor racing championship, will compete on Formula One’s undercard next season.

The championship, postponed this year following the outbreak of coronavirus, will link up with F1 at eight races in 2021.

F1 bosses announced a record-breaking 23-round campaign earlier this week. It is 44 years since a female driver, the Italian Lella Lombardi, last took part in a grand prix.

F1 motorsport boss Ross Brawn said: “It is a really important moment for us to welcome W Series as partners for eight races.

“We believe it is incredibly important to give everyone the chance to reach the highest levels of our sport and their partnership with Formula One next season shows our determination and commitment to showcase their exciting series and the importance of building greater diversity across the sport.”

British driver Jamie Chadwick, 22, won last year’s inaugural championship. The W Series had been due to race on the undercard of the US and Mexican Grands Prix this year before both events were cancelled.

W Series chief executive Catherine Bond Muir said: “After such a successful inaugural season, we at W Series are absolutely delighted to be partnering with Formula One for 2021 and beyond.

“Formula One is by some margin the world’s premier motor racing series, and, when we promised that W Series would be bigger and better in the future, partnering with Formula One was always our ultimate objective.

“We want W Series to entertain, and entertain it will. But we also want it to become a crucial default-option stepping stone for any female racing driver who wants to carve out a professional racing career, and our proximity to Formula One will help and enhance that process.”