W Series CEO Catherine Bond-Muir has suggested that she would like the championship to continue as a permanent part of the single-seater ladder even if motorsport becomes much more gender-equal.
W Series debuted in 2019 in order to create more opportunities for women in racing by offering fully-funded seats and a prize fund of £1.14 million.
It was put on hiatus this season due to the coronavirus pandemic, but aims to return next year.
The series’ self-stated goal is to help women to reach Formula 1 and to promote increased female participation all across motorsport.
Despite early suggestions that the ultimate success would be to make W Series redundant, Bond-Muir is now keen to stress that the series has become more than a means to an end and is a worthy racing series in its own right.
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“On reflection I think I may have changed my view because I answered that question before we had raced,” Bond-Muir told Autosport.
“But then I’ve seen the racing and it’s really great exciting racing.
“My view has evolved somewhat to if W Series can produce great sport in and of itself why wouldn’t you keep W Series?
“I think that the time in which W Series won’t be needed is the time when there are so many women in different sports and as a result people won’t want to watch W Series.
“I think it will last as long as the fans want it.
“There are numerous other sports where men and women can compete equally against each other and there are still separate series for them.
“I still think it will be part of the feeder series into the higher single-seaters.”
W Series’ perceived segregation has proved controversial since it was first announced and Bond-Muir acknowledges that there are people for which “there is nothing that we will ever be able to do to change their minds”.
However she is optimistic that the series’ profile will continue to make it popular with female drivers even if motorsport becomes more diverse.
“Hopefully in the future women will have a choice as to where they want to go.
“What is more high profile, Formula 3 or W Series? And we’ve only had six races.
“Women may then say that they want to go into W Series because not only does it have great racing but it’s a series that still has the profile. “