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F1 to Design All-Women Series With Possible 2023 Debut, per Reports

Formula One is working on launching an all-women championship series, according to multiple reports. 

Although the W Series currently exists, this new series would be geared towards a younger group of drivers, ages 16 to 22, per Sky Sports. The W Series faced financial difficulties this season, resulting the cancelation of the last three races on the 2022 calendar to focus on securing next year’s funding.

According to ESPN, the new series would give a more clear path into the already existing pyramid of Formula Three and Formula Two. Formula 1 reportedly hopes the series will be operating by the beginning of the 2023 season. 

The reported news, which F1 did not confirm to Sky Sports, comes after Lewis Hamilton strongly criticized F1 on Thursday for not helping the W Series. It was launched in fall 2018 as a “a free-to-enter championship” that eliminates the financial barriers while providing equal opportunity to help women climb the ladder of motorsports to F1, according to their website.

A woman has not competed in F1 since Lella Lombardi in 1976. 

“There has not been enough focus on women in sport, the whole of Formula One’s life, and there’s not enough emphasis on it now. And they’re not magnifying enough the great work that is being done there. There is not enough representation across the board, within the industry,” Hamilton said Thursday ahead of the U.S. Grand Prix. “And there’s not really a pathway for those young, amazing drivers to even get to Formula One, and then you have some people who say we’re never going to see a female F1 driver ever. So that’s not a good narrative to be putting out. 

“So I think we need to be doing more, and with the organization, with Formula One and Liberty [Media] doing so well it’s not a lot for them to be able to help out in that space. And I think we need to be doing more to encourage … I mean, in the work I’m trying to do with Mercedes for example, we’re trying to get like 8,000 young girls into the sport—but every team should be doing that.”

Formula One CEO Stefano Domenicali said in August that it is “very unlikely” there will be a woman driver in F1 within the next five years. Looking at the situation “realistically,” Domenicali added at the time, “I don’t see—unless something that will be like a sort of meteorite coming into the earth—a girl in Formula One in the next five years.”

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