F1 Winter Break
Aiming for F1: Candidates for inaugural W Series named
Posted By: Editor   |  28 Nov 2018   |  9:14 pm GMT  |  84 comments

The next steps have been taken in the search for the next female Formula One driver, as the ‘long list’ of entries for the inaugural W Series season has been announced.

The open-wheel category, a series introduced only for female racing drivers, was announced a few weeks ago, with opinions on the new championship divided.

A series claiming to not need sponsorship, the abilities of all interested drivers will je assessed in order to find the best candidates for the championship.

The first step in this process has resulted in a ‘long list’ of over fifty entries, which will be whittled down to form the grid of the new championship.

Notably, the list includes FIA Women in Motorsport Advisor Carmen Jorda, who rose to prominence by becoming a development driver for Lotus back in 2015.

The inclusion of Jorda is no surprise, having previously been vocal about favouring a women-only racing series.

Other notable candidates include former British GT champion and British Formula 3 race-winner Jamie Chadwick and multiple Formula 3 winner Alice Powell. Sabre Cook is an Infiniti Engineering Academy winner and Betke Visser was highly rated as a kart racer.

Higher-profile women racers such as IndyCar driver Pippa Mann, Sauber F1 test and development driver Tatiana Calderon and European Formula 3 driver Sophia Floersch – who have arguably already surpassed the level that the W Series is aimed at – have stated their opposition to the women-only championship.

GP3 competitor Tatiana Calderon, who joined Sauber as development driver.

David Coulthard, W Series Advisory Board Chair said:

“We designed W Series specifically to shine a light on female talent right around the world.

“I can’t wait to be part of the next stage and to see some of that talent in action.”

A series of tests will be conducted in the W Series race car – a 2019 Tatuus T-318 – ahead of the season’s first race at Hockenheim in Germany in May.

Full entry list:

  • Ayla Agren, 25, Norway
  • Amna Al Qubaisi, 18, UAE
  • Chelsea Angelo, 22, Australia
  • Carmen Boix, 23, Spain
  • Sarah Bovy, 29, Belgium
  • Toni Breidinger, 19, USA
  • Ivana Cetinich, 22, South Africa
  • Jamie Chadwick, 20, UK
  • Veronika Cicha, 31, Czech Republic
  • Sabre Cook, 24, USA
  • Courtney Crone, 17, USA
  • Natalie Decker, 21, USA
  • Mira Erda, 18, India
  • Carlotta Fedeli, 26, Italy
  • Cassie Gannis, 27, USA
  • Marta Garcia, 18, Spain
  • Michelle Gatting, 24, Denmark
  • Angelique Germann, 27 Germany
  • Megan Gilkes, 17, Canada
  • Samin Gomez, 26, Venezuela
  • Grace Gui, 27, China
  • Michelle Halder, 19, Germany
  • Esmee Hawkey, 20, UK
  • Jessica Hawkins, 23, UK
  • Shea Holbrook, 28, USA
  • Carmen Jorda, 30, Spain
  • Vivien Keszthelyi, 17, Hungary
  • Emma Kimilainen, 29, Finland
  • Natalia Kowalska, 28, Poland
  • Stephane Kox, 24, Netherland
  • Miki Koyama, 21, Japan
  • Fabienne Lanz, 32, South Africa
  • Milla Mäkelä, 25, Finland
  • Alexandra Marinescu, 18, Romania
  • Milou Mets, 28, Netherlands
  • Sheena Monk, 29, USA
  • Sarah Moore, 25, UK
  • Marylin Niederhauser, 22, Switzerland
  • Tasmin Pepper, 28, South Africa
  • Vicky Piria, 24, Italy
  • Taegen Poles, 20, Canada
  • Alice Powell, 25, UK
  • Charlotte Poynting, 20, Australia
  • Naomi Schiff, 24, Belgium
  • Carrie Schriener, 20, Germany
  • Sharon Scolari, 23, Switzerland
  • Doreen Seidel, 33, Germany
  • Siti Shahkirah, 24, Malaysia
  • Sneha Sharma, 28, India
  • Bruna Tomaselli, 21, Brazil
  • Shirley Van Der Lof, 31, Netherlands
  • Beitske Visser, 23, Netherlands
  • Fabienne Wohlwend, 21, Lichenstein
  • Caitlin Wood, 21, Australia
  • Hanna Zellers, 21, USA


By: Luke Murphy

All images: Motorsport Images

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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

However both men and women did race together from the beginning


Logic demands women are equally good at driving fast cars as men. So a serious female contender in F1 should be a matter of time – waiting for a girl with indomitable ambition and utter commitment. Without role models that will be the exception unfortunately. But if F1 manages to survive for another 2 decades it’s gonna happen I think. A single female backmarker would not be much fun. The only effect would probably be that when something is rattling in the car the boys would shy away from radio messages like “There’s something loose between my legs. Apart from the obvious” or “Something is flying around my feet. I’d be proud if it was what you think it is, but it’s not.” But… just IMAGINE what a really flamboyant female title contender could be like! I mean, challenging the top male, and preferably in every way possible. I’d like to see a gorgeous superfast smart Ferrari woman really take it to the alpha male! Best if she’s materialistic and supremely confident and outspoken. Sitting next to the WDC leader at the press conference who says “Somebody up there doesn’t want me to win” and she turns to him throwing her hair back: ” ‘Somebody up there doesn’t want me to win?’ And the other day you were kneeling in front of your car and ceremoniously kissing it! Silly boy. Get your act together, you can’t even choose between religion and superstition! Me, I choose neither and I’m going to blow your diva ass away tomorrow!” And since it’s not 2050 yet no man would dare to criticise her… Some spectacle!!

Torchwood Mobile

Well, it has already achived one of its goals.

I had no idea, that there were even this many women in motorsport.

My only concern is that after the Missed Apex podcast referred me to the Formula Woman series in the early 2000s – you can wiki it – none of their winners are names known to me now.


I fear this series is a bad idea, women should be racing alongside men, not being separated.


With the audience numbers having already fallen off of F1,due to one thing or another over the last 15 years of tinkering with the product in a misguided attempt to improve a show that didnt need improving,here we have another concept distraction.

Kimi’s opinion of women steerers is shared universally across the world.

Why would anyone imagine theres actually any market for a women drivers series


I noticed 3 names from Australia, but Leanne Tander isn’t one of them.

I believe this to be a huge oversight.


I guess its better than nothing but there are quite a few women in fighters protecting the US and I think studies show they can withstand g forces better than men can.

Maybe men have something else in F1 but what?


O.T. I just looked up Formula E calendar to see these new cars, and the opening grand prix in Saudi Arabia is called “Ad Diriyah ePrix”?

Seriously? Is that pronounced “Add diarrhea E prick”?


Just an aside,

We’ve seen so many racing sons follow in their Father’s footsteps over the years.

ie: Andretti, Brabham, Fittipaldi etc.

It’s a little bit surprising no former F1 driver has had a daughter that has emerged as a contender.


There is Emilio de Villota and his daughter Maria de Villota who unfortunately got severely injured in a F1 testing accident ultimately leading to her death about one year later.


I’m pretty sure Courtney Crone is either the daughter or younger sister of Jesse Crone, who is a professional racecar driver.

Nelson Piquet has a daughter that I think did some karting, don’t know how good she was.

Max Verstappen’s sister is supposed to be pretty good in a kart as well, why she didn’t pursue it further I don’t know.

To this day, John Force is the only racing dad I know of who has daughters who have been successful in racing (is winning events and championships).


There’s Vanina Ickx, daughter of Jacky.

søren christensen

Christina Nielsen has a father, who was quite succesful in sportscars – like the daughter.

The Slug Balancer

The comments on this one make me really wish this site had downvote buttons.


What difference would it make? Your downvoting comments that upset your fragile sensibilities wouldn’t make those comments any less true. Its always truth that makes things true, not downvoting, or consensus, or opinions etc…


Yes it seems women are being bad mouthed. There is no reason for this.


Yes there is a reason: the ladies are not playing fair, and haven’t been playing fair for quite some time now. And more and more people are now beginning to call them out on it.

If, however,they start playing fair again, nobody will bad mouth them at all. Why would they?


Hi JAonF1

Short term the top drivers in this series will need to be offered drives in F3 and F2 for this to be a success.

If this short term objective is met and the love and cash for this series continues to flow, the long term success will be measured by any meaningful increase in female participation and viewers.

If I were a betting man I would put a early tenner on Chelsea Angelo.



Why? No one has any means for comparison. It’s even different cars (how stupid is that?). How would you assess how good that lady is?
Looking at Danica Patrick, Jutta Kleinschmidt, Rosemary Smith, Ellen Lohr, Sabine Schmitz, Claudia Hürtgen, Desiree Wilson, Michelle Mouton or Ana Carrasco there is little doubt about their qualities or lack thereof.
Helle Nice won the Women’s Grand Prix title time and again, in mixed races with men, she never crossed the line in first place. So how was the Women’s Grand Prix any indicator for her qualities?


If we have to do this,

how about letting them have the PU cars.

Then the real men could get back to actual hairy racing cars.


Like I said before an average women can take more g forces than a man. There are plenty of US fighter pilots in our military.

F1 is cool and a lot higher paying but being in a fighter has to be more thrilling.


Fine with me. In fact, more than fine.


I hate the PC brigade, but that’s a stupid comment Gene Herbert. Real men know how to treat and behave around a woman…..


I beyond confused now. I thought this series was to help F3 level drivers, ie kids who are roughly 15-17 years old. There’s only one 17 year old on that list, and there’s women on that list who are over 30….how on earth is that supposed to help women get to F1? Some of those women are old enough to be retired from F1.

I’m repeating myself here, but to make it to F1, drivers need to be good enough and identified by the age of 12-14…the good ones get identified even younger than that. Hamilton, Verstappen, Ocon, LeClerc, Norris, Russel, Gasley, Stroll, Hartley….all of these guys were identified in karting, not in F3. Theyre younger than most of they women on that list, and already in F1.

Please explain to me how some mid 20s women in F3 cars is supposed to encourage entire generations of young women to flock to the race track. This is literally a BS racing series that Jorda dreamed up so she would finally have a seat (the fact she’s on the list is shocking). Where is the W-Series support of women like Katherine Legg, who struggled all year long to keep here IMSA program going – race to race sponsorship deals, last minute signings, etc, despite actually leading the championship most of the way. Why are the W-Series promoters not putting a spotlight on Christina Nielsen, who won the IMSA GTD championship 2 years in a row? Point is, there are women in motorsport, some doing quite well. Highlight them, and throw funding at karting programs – but mark my words, a field of women in their 20s in F3 cars, on a reality TV show that won’t get many views, won’t help more women make it to F1.

David Coulthard saying, “I can’t wait to see this talent in action” gives me the heebee-jeebees.


Except for Kimi there is no reason why an F1 driver can’t be good until 40 although Hamilton says no I think Vettel and Hamilton don’t have to think about stopping until then.

40 ain’t bad but 50 you can really tell. Haha.


Look again. There’s three 17 year-olds, not one. Nine in total below 20.


My bad, you’re right I miss counted.

But 9 below 20?? Lol. The entire Euro F3 grid is below 18. What significance does 9 below 20 even have?


Because F3 isnt a brand new racing series trying to get of the ground. This is. It will take some time to get any racing series going and get people lining up to race in it.


This is just another example of the special privlidges that the females of our species are enjoying, and have been enjoying for Millenia, contrary to the “male oppression” nonsense that feminists have been brainwashing us with for over a century now.


They don’t enjoy that in the US military just performance based yet there are quite a few fighter pilots in the US that are women.


You are joking – right?


Tell me, have you ever visited the planet Earth LukeC?


Yes. Have you?


They make all the people!

Feel lucky you have F1 to yourself.

But if you think hard enough, every single guy in F1 is doing it to impress women. 🙂


Men have many weaknesses, and according to Leela Turanga from Futurama, men’s biggest weakness is the inability to resist hookers.


We used to quote leaders, poets, visionaries. Today we quote and find wisdom in cartoons. 🙂


Haha never thought of that. Other than that I can see no reason they can’t be as good as anyone but maybe they have no interest.

I dunno.


Using your criteria, Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill would never have made it to F1 let alone take out the championship.

Jog on, champ.


And think about it when looking at the Alonso-Johnson Seat Swap. Jimmie Johnson did his first part-time NASCAR Touring (Xfinity) ride at 22 after only doing his first Late Model at 21. He was 24 when he started in Xfinity full-time and did not make his NASCAR premiership debut until he was 26. He was past his mid-20’s when he started and only took five years to win his first title.

Likewise, the 2019 NASCAR premiership rookie class consists primarily of two drivers who are late-20’s that came from a crop of regional touring racing as proven winners — one who went back after a year in underfunded equipment at the second-tier to return to regional racing, then found funding to do two drives for works teams, winning the second of those races and earning a sufficient number of races for the works team before earning a drive with a Hendrick satellite. A second driver is a proven regional winner who earned his road to a works drive.

Think about it. And the idea of drivers who made it after turning 25 is something that should be considered virtuous.


Well NASCAR isn’t as physically demanding as F1 AND Jimi Johnson has an advantage. Motorcycles! If you can race those….well also experience matters.

Why did Hamilton win the WDC and carry the WCC. Experience! It matters.


Different era, champ. I’m talking modern drivers, recent names to make it to F1.

Fangio was in his 40s and still in F1….do we see many 40 year olds in F1 these days? Again, different era.

Who was the last person to make it to F1 who wasn’t already identified by the age of 14. It probably was Hill, maaaybe Button. Vast majority of the rest that have made it to F1 in the last 20 years were all known quantities by the time they were 15 or so.

So ya, FOH with that “jog on” nonsense.


Not many g forces back then. NASCAR seldom goes beyond 3 Gs. F1 routinely goes 5.


We could use the w series as winter break racing or to test next year aero part.


Personally i think that this is a great idea. What it means is simply more racing without the competitors having to ante up huge wads of cash. I mean, what can be wrong about that? If, in the process, some young ladies stand out and go on to bigger things then that has to be a plus for them and us. All this sexist crap is simply that…crap. let them race, let them have some fun…go girls.


Yeah it doesn’t matter. Hamilton is the only successful black guy in any racing series I get to watch.

Remember Spain?


It would be sexist crap if there was a series for men ( or even a mixed series) that did not need wads of cash. This money should be put in at grass roots putting girls and boy that show the slightest talent into Karting. That way sex , race, or family financial background would not make a difference and talent would shine through attracting sponsors.

søren christensen

Miss Gatting from Denmark might spring a surprise, when the races start. She was a top racer in Go Karts (mixed gender series…), before switching to touring cars.


Jorda sure had the right profile in the garage to be market friendly so why not. This would not come about if there were no trust in the money coming in, as a format.

I’m not worried this will become something completely orchestrated from the get go. Should I have any doubts, from looking at the other racing formats and the way they are heading?

Let’s just leave it out there as a cliffhanger


Is it just the drivers that are female or are the pit crews, team bosses, etc female too?


Team bosses Totia Wolff and Nikola Lauda CONFIRMED.


I’m in two minds about the W Series. On the one hand, I totally see where Pippa Mann is coming from – ultimately if women are to compete at the highest levels we need them to show that they’re capable of beating men on an equal playing field. The W Series obviously won’t do that, but on the other hand it may provide a platform for picking out the best and brightest women to advance to higher series.

On balance, I’d say it won’t do any harm and might prove beneficial. As Luke points out, there are female drivers performing at higher levels than this already and the careers of people like Katherine Legge, Danica Patrick, Simona de Silvestro and Sarah Fisher suggest that women are certainly capable of competing with men at the highest levels, even if we probably haven’t seen a potential Grand Prix winner yet.


Does anyone know if these F3 cars are identical to other F3 cars sued, such as the FIA F3 or British F3??

Would be good to compare their times to the other series using the F3 car to see if a driver could compete in the other series!


Can we get the grid-boys back then!?


Sexy. Would love to see in g-strings. Not.


What no Charlie Martin on the long list?


Higher-profile women racers such as IndyCar driver Pippa Mann, Sauber F1 test and development driver Tatiana Calderon and European Formula 3 driver Sophia Floersch – who have arguably already surpassed the level that the W Series is aimed at – have stated their opposition to the women-only championship.

whilst I will watch and enjoy most motor racing the relevance of this series to F1 is sumed up in that statement.


Good to know that women with some semblance of integrity still exist these these days.


Would that be surpassed the level, as in surpassed it backwards at 130mph in mid air into a photographers’ stand?

Too soon? 😉

You cannot say that none of these women listed could surpass Pippa, Tatiana or Sophia. That’s got as much credibility as saying Russell will never be as good a driver as Stroll because he’s older and has experience in the formula…


It’s funny how Calderon is opposed now but will end there eventually after Sauber runs out of hype.

I insist this series is yet another commercial attempt to get more people involve in the sport appealing certain group interest, hope at the end it actually help to get a good female driver to race in F1, regardless is not need to have that Wseries if any woman was actually good enough to run in minor existing series AND GET GOOD RESULTS.


lol, was my first thought upon hearing of the inaugural W-series. After discussing it’s premise with my GF, my opinion has changed. A stand alone series showcasing female talent may entice young women into formula. Similar to the max effect in holland or fernando in spain – visibility can do wonders to a previously untapped demography.

Now this isn’t to say any of these women have formula one talent but maybe their involvement may someday lead to one.


I followed same journey as you.

And how many talents (male or female) never reach their potential, simply because they never got the opportunity to showcase it on a big stage like F3 because their parent didn’t have Stroll-like resources to pay your way onto the big stage. Simply given the chance to show off your talent.

I feel like all it takes is one of these ladies to graduate the series and eventually progress to and rightfully EARN a F1 seat… then the program will be a success.

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