May 11, 2020 / 9:44 PM / 25 days ago

W Series has the resources to race on next year, says CEO

LONDON (Reuters) - The all-female W Series has the resources to get through this year even if no races can be held because of the COVID-19 pandemic, founder and chief executive Catherine Bond Muir said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Motorsports - W Series - Brands Hatch - Brands Hatch, West Kingsdown, Britain - August 11, 2019 Jamie Chadwick of Great Britain in action during the W Series race REUTERS/Matthew Childs

W Series, which launched last year in support of the German Touring Car (DTM) championship, has yet to draw up a revised calendar for 2020 after the new coronavirus outbreak changed everything.

It had planned also to join Formula One for the first time at grands prix in Mexico and the United States, both of which remain up in the air.

“It is absolutely robust enough,” Bond Muir told reporters on a conference call when asked about her series’ business model.

“There’s a very clear message here. We will be racing next year irrespective of what happens this year.”

W Series, which aims to help women move up the male-dominated motorsport ladder, is sanctioned by the governing FIA and offers points towards an F1 super-licence for the first time this year.

Britain’s Jamie Chadwick banked $500,000 for winning the inaugural season.

The DTM faces an additional crisis, with Audi leaving at the end of the year and leaving BMW as the sole manufacturer.

Asked whether W Series might hook up permanently with Formula One, Bond Muir said discussions were ongoing.

“We would be delighted to continue our relationship with Formula One, and I don’t think that has an impact on whatever happens with DTM,” she said.

“At the moment I think Formula One are working flat out at trying to make 2020 work and we certainly haven’t had those conversations yet.”

Bond Muir said W Series had limited flexibility to go along with Formula One if the dates of the Mexico and U.S. races changed.

“I don’t know how big our flex is,” she said.

“We have to have races that make sense. We can’t race in Europe and then race in the United States two weeks later. We need to ship things by sea, we don’t have the money or finances to go and rent a 747 unfortunately.”

The scrapped 2020 W Series schedule envisaged a last race in Europe with the DTM on Sept 5 and then Austin, Texas, on Oct 24 with Mexico a week after.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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