Formula 1: W Series to be undercard at two races in 2020

jamie chadwick
Jamie Chadwick won last season's inaugural W Series at Brands Hatch

The female-only W Series will feature on the Formula 1 support-race bill for the first time this year.

Races at the United States and Mexican Grands Prix in 2020 will be the climax to the W Series' second season.

W Series advisory board chairman and ex-F1 driver David Coulthard said it is "a truly impressive development".

F1 managing director Ross Brawn said: "W Series has contributed significantly to increasing interest in the topic of diversity and inclusion in motorsport."

The move is a significant vote of confidence for the new series, which was set up in 2019 with the intention of raising the profile of motorsport among women and the ultimate ambition of helping find a female F1 driver.

The last woman to race in F1 was Italian Lella Lombardi, who scored half a point with a sixth-place finish in the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix.

Racing on an F1 weekend is likely to enhance the W Series' standing around the world and will bring it to the attention of many thousands more fans at the track - the races in Austin and Mexico City are among the best-attended on the F1 calendar.

Brawn added: "We are convinced that our sport must offer equal opportunities for men and women to compete together.

"It is no coincidence that improving the diversity of the F1 grid by supporting and promoting driver talent from under-represented backgrounds is one of our strategic objectives.

"The ability for the great crowds who traditionally attend the Austin and Mexico City Grands Prix to see these talented female drivers up close will definitely further raise the awareness of the importance of inclusion and diversity in motorsport."

W Series chief executive officer Catherine Bond Muir said: "We at W Series are absolutely delighted that, in only our second season, our championship has been welcomed by Formula 1, and we're utterly thrilled that the final two races of the 2020 W Series season will therefore take place as part of the Formula 1 platform.

"Interest in and enthusiasm for W Series was enormous in our first season, 2019, among media and fans alike, and the addition of two all-new W Series races on the Formula 1 platform will inevitably increase that enthusiasm and interest."

Coulthard - who won 13 grands prix for Williams and McLaren in a 14-year career and is now an analyst for Channel 4's F1 coverage among other business commitments - added: "The announcement demonstrates very clearly the extent to which W Series has quickly been widely accepted as part of the international motorsport calendar."

Jamie Chadwick, the 2019 W Series champion, won a place at the Williams F1 team as development driver with impressive performances in the opening races last year. She has retained that position for 2020, and is racing in the W Series again this year too.

The other six W Series events will support the DTM German Touring Car Championship, as last year.

Full W Series 2020 schedule:

30 May - Russia (St Petersburg)

13 June - Sweden (Anderstorp)

27 June - Italy (Monza)

11 July - Germany (Norisring)

23 August - UK (Brands Hatch)

5 September - Netherlands (Assen)

24 October - USA (Austin)

31 October - Mexico (Mexico City)

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