Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton has hit out at Formula 1 and its owners Liberty Media for not “helping out” the financially strained W Series, which was forced to cancel the final three rounds of its current season.
Races at Japan two weeks ago, the United States this weekend, and Mexico next weekend were cancelled by the all-female series, as its financial struggles continue to pile up.
The cancellation of the series comes at a time when Formula 1 is making more money than ever before, leading to Hamilton believing that it “was not a lot” for F1 or its owners to financially help the very young series.
Whilst the amount W Series owes isn’t actually too substantial (net liabilities of £7.5 million according to Companies House), it’s enough to put a halt on things until an investor is found, something that the championship reportedly came very close to.
The abrupt end of the current season saw Jamie Chadwick claim her third consecutive W Series title, further cementing her dominance in the category.
A reason for ending the year early was to give the championship as much time as possible to find new investors, with question marks surrounding the series’ future should an investor not be found.
Hamilton is understandably frustrated that the pinnacle of motorsport isn’t putting “enough focus” into its junior category, which was designed to give talented women a pathway into the highest level of motorsport.
“100%. I do. Particularly the W Series,” said Hamilton, when asked if there had been an onus on F1 to help the relatively new all-female series.
“There has not been enough focus on women in sport for the whole of Formula 1’s life. There is not enough emphasis on it now. They’re not magnifying enough the great work that is being done there.
“There is not enough representation across the board within our industry. There is not really a pathway for those young, amazing drivers to even get to Formula 1.
“Then you have some people who say: ‘We’re never going to see a female F1 driver’. That’s not a good narrative to be putting out. So, I think we need to be doing more.”
Given how much F1 has grown and the amount the sport’s hierarchy has spoken about getting a woman into the championship, it’s embarrassing that they simply watched on as the young series hit a potentially career-ending stumbling block.
F1 could’ve saved W Series from ending the season early; instead they simply did nothing.
Hamilton knows that F1 and Liberty Media had the finances to easily step-in, with there clearly not being enough done to “encourage young women”.
“With the organisation, with Formula 1 and Liberty doing so well, it was not a lot for them to be able to help out in that space,” added the Briton.
“We need to be doing more to encourage young women.
“The work that I am trying to do with Mercedes, for example, trying to get 8000 young girls into the sport
“Every team should be doing that.”