W Series could support more Formula One races next year

LONDON (Reuters) - The all-female W Series could support more Formula One grands prix next year than the two American rounds already announced and has backup plans in the event of a split from the German Touring Car championship (DTM).

FILE PHOTO: Motorsports - W Series - Brands Hatch - Brands Hatch, West Kingsdown, Britain - August 11, 2019 Alice Powell of Great Britain celebrates winning the W Series race with Emma Kimilainen of Finland and Beitske Visser of the Netherlands REUTERS/Matthew Childs

The series has cancelled its second season due to the COVID-19 pandemic but is working towards a return in 2021 with races on the U.S. and Mexican Formula One grand prix programmes confirmed.

“We are speaking to a number of series at the moment,” series founder and chief executive Catherine Bond Muir told reporters on Wednesday when asked about next year’s calendar.

“Our desire is to race internationally and as wide geographically as we possibly can.”

Formula One, with races in Asia, the Middle East and Europe as well as the Americas, fits the bill.

Bond Muir said W Series definitely wanted to race in Asia but there was ‘more certainty we’ll be there in 2022 than 2021.”

Organisers of the Australian Grand Prix, a government-funded event, expressed interest in the series featuring on their programme already last year.

The DTM is facing an uncertain future, with Audi departing at the end of this year and Mercedes and Aston Martin already gone, leaving only BMW.

DTM chief Gerhard Berger told Red Bull’s ServusTV this month that if no German manufacturers supported the platform then it might have to be wound up.

“Maybe we would do our own races. We’re just working through the economics of that at the moment,” said Bond Muir.

“We would love to continue the partnership (with DTM) but if it doesn’t, we have backup plans.”

Bond Muir said W Series, whose first champion Jamie Chadwick is racing in the European Formula Three Regional championship this year, needed to get dates in the diary for television deals to be sorted.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis