W Series: Development or Diminishment in Women’s Racing?

On October 9th the W series, a new women’s racing series, was launched. This series is for elite female drivers looking for opportunities to develop and progress their careers to the Formula One and other high level pro racing series. The W Series is set to launch in May of 2019 and it is a free to enter single-seater motor racing series. The series is supported by David Coulthard a former F1 driver and Adrian Newey, an F1 designer and engineer.

A new women-only racing series sounds like it would be an advancement for women in sports, but it is actually thought of as a step backwards for many. In the 1930s, when women in motor racing was becoming more acceptable, the women’s individual records were erased so that they could now compete against the men for the same records. These advancements once made are now being taken back by what are thought to be current advancement for women in sports. This series sends the message that it is okay for women and men to be segregated in sports. This might be acceptable in sports like hockey where men are genetically stronger and faster than women. However, this is not the case with driving. Both men and women have the same ability to drive a car.

Image result for Lella Lombardi
Lella Lombardi at the 1974 Monza Formula 5000 race

Since the first Formula One race in 1950, there has only been two women to ever participate and the last one was Lella Lombardi over 40 years ago. The main reason that there have not been any more female racers is because of the cost it takes to be a competitive racer in Formula One. Women receive 1% of sports endorsements so it is much harder for them to find a good car and a good team that would allow them to compete at the Formula One level. Will the W series be the stepping stone that female racers have been waiting for to get them to the Formula One level or will it be the downfall of women’s racing in general?

Featured image: source


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