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W Collection to turn into a team-based championship from 2022

By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) – The all-female W Collection, which is supporting Formulation One at eight grands prix this 12 months, will turn into a team-based championship from 2022 on account of sturdy sponsor curiosity, organisers stated on Thursday.

Drivers will proceed to race with equivalent equipment, nonetheless, with automobiles ready and maintained by W Collection Engineering.

The collection, whose second season begins at Austria’s Pink Bull Ring this weekend and which has the final word goal of serving to a lady race in Formulation One for the primary time since 1976, at present supplies automobiles to the drivers individually.

The ladies racers, chosen on advantage, pay nothing for his or her seats and compete for a complete prize fund of $1.5 million.

The brand new group construction will see driver pairings representing plenty of new sponsors together with German sportswear firm Puma.

“It transforms the enterprise, it is bringing in cash with the intention to create a sustainable enterprise,” W collection founder and chief govt Catherine Bond Muir instructed Reuters.

She stated placing on the collection value tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} however the link-up with Formulation One supplied a worldwide stage and a “high quality stamp” for sponsors.

“Going ahead we’re going to be sustained by our companions coming in. We are able to have long-term planning and develop the enterprise significantly better. For me that is presumably our most essential announcement,” she added.

“It’s effectively documented how girls’s sport has been extra affected than males’s sport throughout the pandemic. I feel one of many nice issues about what we’re saying is that it demonstrates we’re bucking that development.”

Bond Muir stated there can be a groups championship in future however not a constructors’ one, as a result of W collection needed to make sure a degree taking part in subject.

Groups wouldn’t be allowed to cost the drivers any cash or drive them to convey sponsorship with the intention to safe the drive, as occurs in different junior collection.

Bond Muir envisaged a state of affairs the place groups could possibly be competing for the companies of a driver, and that will be inspired.

“We would like the drivers to earn cash so if there was competitors and so they bought the very best driver as a result of they have been paying extra money, from my perspective that is all good,” she stated.

“What we’re serving to to do is empower feminine drivers and get cash for them. We have nonetheless bought our prize cash this 12 months…however going ahead if groups needed to come back in and pay some huge cash for a selected driver then I would personally welcome that.”

Britain’s inaugural W Collection champion Jamie Chadwick will symbolize the Veloce group, with whom she already has a relationship.

The collection didn’t race final 12 months as a result of COVID-19 pandemic after beginning in 2019 alongside the German Touring Automobile championship (DTM).

Bond Muir stated the primary 12 months had centered on explaining the rationale for the collection, and the second was about survival and getting the take care of Formulation One.

“This 12 months has been about monetary safety and has bought to be now about viewers progress and spreading the model of W Collection all through the world,” she stated.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, enhancing by Ed Osmond)

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