The all-female W Series has been cancelled for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As was the case in its inaugural, 2019 season, the W Series was to have featured on the support bill at six DTM events, but had also added rounds at two Formula 1 grands prix in the Americas.
DTM released a heavily revised calendar only just this week while there is doubt about the United States and Mexico City Grands Prix proceedings this year.
W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir, however, cited the difficulty in adhering to necessary health measures as the reason for the decision.
She also confirmed that the F1 support races would still proceed when a second season is run in 2021, while hinting that it could feature at other grands prix.
“After the resounding success of W Series’ debut season in 2019, our decision not to stage on-track races until 2021 is not one that has been taken lightly,” said Bond Muir.
“However, we are already working on an exciting new W Series race calendar for 2021, and we are delighted to be able to confirm that W Series races will feature on the support cards of a number of Formula 1 Grands Prix next year, including the 2021 United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas and the 2021 Mexican Grand Prix at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.
“W Series is a global movement that exists to support the careers of female racing drivers everywhere, and to foster interest in and enthusiasm for motor racing among girls and women all over the world.
“The 18 women who had qualified to race in the 2020 W Series represent 12 different countries, and the eight circuits on which they were due to race this year are located in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, North America and Central America.
“Delivering an international calendar of the kind that W Series requires, so as to take W Series’ diversity and inclusion message to girls and women globally, while prioritising during a global pandemic the health and safety of our drivers, our staff and the many other people who make W Series events such a success, requires resource at a level beyond the scope of a brave new start-up such as W Series.
“However, now that we have taken the very difficult but ultimately unavoidable decision to end any uncertainty surrounding our 2020 plans, we will focus our energies clearly on 2021, when we will resume our on-track racing programme, bigger and better than ever before.”
Formula 1’s Managing Director of Motorsport, Ross Brawn, added, “W Series has had an incredible impact on the world of motorsport, and we were excited to have them join our schedule this year.
“It is a big disappointment for all of us that due to the difficulties presented by COVID-19 the events will not take place, but we are looking forward to some exciting racing in 2021 when W Series returns.”
There is no word yet on how qualification for the 2021 W Series will be determined.
This year’s grid was to have been comprised of the top 12 from the 2019 season plus at least six new entrants determined from a selection process conducted after that campaign.
Australian Caitlin Wood was not among them, having finished 13th last year, but had been called up to race in the W Series Esports League, which will still go ahead from June 11.