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GROUNDBREAKING all-female racing competition W Series has entered administration after efforts to secure funding failed, revealed a statement from the administrators today.
The single-seater championship, which began in 2019, was instrumental in launching the careers of female drivers including British three-time winner Jamie Chadwick, now racing in Indy NXT and part of Williams’s academy.
W Series joined the F1 support bill for eight races in 2021 and was set to feature as part of another eight Grand Prix weekends in 2022 before financial difficulties resulted in the season’s early curtailment.
Administrators Evelyn Partners LLP confirmed that most staff had already left the business or been made redundant prior to the announcement.
Many drivers, including British Alpine Academy driver Abbi Pulling, had credited W Series with saving their careers, particularly as it was was free to enter in a hugely expensive sport that remains overwhelmingly male-dominated.
Its 2022 race at Silverstone attracted a peak UK TV audience of more than a million viewers, making it the most-watched motorsport event since 2014 outside of F1.
British driver Alice Powell, who finished third in 2022, tweeted: “I am sad to learn of the news of W Series entering administration. At the end of the day, W Series got me out racing again, whether you agreed with the championship or not…
“W Series DID NOT fail. It inspired and created opportunities not just for its drivers, but for many young female racing fans too. I have many great memories from racing in the championship, including my win at the British GP in 2021, which will stay with me forever.”
CEO Catherine Bond Muir had previously pointed to the pandemic, which led to the cancellation of the 2020 season, as one of the many factors working against W Series, with organisers unable to invite as many guests, including potential investors, to the paddock due to pandemic restrictions.
Joining F1 and the rising cost of living came with its own financial challenges, but it was the loss of promised investment that never arrived that ultimately caused the curtailment last season.
Joint administrator Harry Shinners encouraged interested parties to step forward in hopes of saving the series.
He added: “The joint administrators will explore all available options to allow the W Series to restart in the future. We are seeking expressions of interest in the business and assets of the company. We would ask that any interest is registered with us as quickly as possible.
“Staff had been made redundant or had left the business before our appointment and it has unfortunately been necessary to make the remaining staff member redundant.
“The joint administrators will be looking to support any staff impacted by the administration, given the financial position of the company, with making and progressing any claims with the Redundancy Payments Office.”
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