Here’s How The W Series Championship Could Shake Down This Weekend

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After a seven-week break, the all-female W Series Championship is back in action for a double-header at the circuit of the Americas to round out the 2021 season. We’ll walk you through what you need to know to stay on top of the action this weekend.

W Series Format

The W Series is formatted in much the same way as other F1 feeder-series open-wheel categories, with the main twist being that all competitors are women who have to undergo a series of pre-season selection tests to verify their skills as on-track drivers and off-track business moguls who can serve as their own financial ambassadors. The whole goal is to select drivers that are not only competitive but also have a great shot at marketing themselves well enough after the W Series to secure a competitive ride somewhere else. At the end of the selection process, 18 drivers will move on to compete in a season.

The selection process is key because the series is free for drivers. They don’t have to find sponsorship to compete, so it makes sense that the series wants to invest in the drivers that will be the most successful.

Races take place around the world, with points being awarded for first (25 points) through 10th (1 point) place drivers. At the end of the season, the overall victor takes home $500,000, with another $1 million being spread between other competitors.

Championship Contenders

This year, there are three championship contenders: Alice Powell, Jamie Chadwick, and Emma Kimiläinen.

Powell and Chadwick are tied with 109 points, though Powell has one extra race victory over Chadwick that has placed her at the top of the charts. Kimiläinen, down in third place, is 34 points behind Powell and Chadwick, but with a total of 50 points up for grabs for anyone who secures two race wins at COTA, she could very easily secure a win.

With three wins, one second-place finish, and two other top 10s this year (along with three races where she set the fastest lap of all the drivers), Powell has undoubtedly established herself as an exceptional racer. She’s had an impressive career in single-seater racing, but funding problems saw her out of a car for several long stretches. The W Series saw her back behind the wheel, and in the inaugural season, she finished third overall.

But Powell is up against Chadwick, a successful all-around racer who took the inaugural W Series Championship victory in 2019. Her two wins, three podiums, and one other top-10 finish are enough to keep her on par with Powell points-wise, and she’s undoubtedly a favorite heading into the final two races of the season.

That leaves us with Kimiläinen. She has one win this year along with two third-places finishes, two top 10s, and one finish outside of a points-scoring position. She hasn’t been as consistent a finisher as her other Championship competitors, but she’s also steadily improved as the 2021 season has progressed and has the potential to finish much higher than 2019’s fifth place. She’s not a driver to discount by any means.

Who’s Walking Away Happy?

The top eight drivers at the end of the 2021 W Series Championship will be guaranteed a place on the grid next year, which makes competition fierce throughout the entire grid. A mere 22 points separate the current eighth-place driver and the 18th-place driver at the very bottom of the points standings, so there’s plenty left to play for.

While the Championship winner takes home a $500,000 paycheck, another $1 million is set to be separated between the rest of the grid, so merely competing in the series guarantees a decent shot at securing funding for a ride in 2022.

This Weekend’s W Series Schedule

Friday

  • 11:20 a.m. ET: Practice
  • 5:30 p.m. ET: Qualifying 1

Saturday

  • 12:10 p.m. ET: Qualifying 2
  • 6:25 p.m. ET: Race 1

Sunday

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