W Series 2022 Season Preview

When the lights go out for the first race of the 2022 W Series season, 195 days will have passed since the championship’s second season came to a dramatic conclusion at the Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, USA, where Jamie Chadwick pipped Alice Powell to successfully defend her W Series title.

The 2022 W Series season will support Formula 1 at eight grand prix race weekends, visiting three continents – including one, Asia, for the first time at the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka – and five new circuits, with a 10-race campaign from May to October.

W Series begins season three where it left off, in the USA, but this time in the country’s southeasternmost state, Florida, at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix with a double-header at the brand-new Miami International Autodrome from 6-8 May. Two weeks later, W Series returns to the site of its 2022 pre-season test – the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain – before heading to the home of British motorsport, Silverstone, for race four at the beginning of July.

Later that month, W Series will visit two more European circuits – Circuit Paul Ricard, France, (22-24 July), and Hungary’s Hungaroring (29-31 July) – before F1’s summer break. After two months off, W Series will make its Asian debut as F1 returns to Japan (7-9 October) for the first time in two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. W Series then heads to the Americas and a return to COTA for the penultimate round of the season (21-23 October), before finishing with a double-header in Mexico City a week later.

The W Series driver and team line-ups for 2022 have been confirmed, as some familiar faces return, and five talented rookies make their debuts.

Getting to know the teams

Former racing driver and Olympic champion Caitlyn Jenner enters W Series as owner of the Jenner Racing Team, for whom two-time defending champion Jamie (UK, 23) will lead the charge. With six race victories and six other podium finishes to her name in a 14-race W Series career to-date, Jamie – a Development Driver for the Williams F1 team – is well-placed to take Jenner Racing to the top. The Briton will be joined by team-mate Chloe Chambers (USA, 17), who impressed at January’s test for prospective W Series drivers in Arizona, USA, and has earned a full-time seat in 2022. As a Guinness World Record holder for vehicle slalom and with an array of junior championship titles to her name at home in the USA, Chloe is sure to push the champion hard.

Community Owned Racing Team DAO (CortDAO) is a new addition to the W Series grid for 2022. Online community members can purchase tokens which will be converted into a portion of the sponsorship of the team, whose line-up consists of two returning drivers. Fabienne Wohlwend (LIE, 24) has entered every W Series race since 2019 and finished on the podium three times, including a memorable runner-up finish at Silverstone last year. Joining Fabienne at CortDAO is Marta Garcia (ESP, 21), who won the fourth race of season one at the Norisring and finished second in the W Series Esports League in 2020.

Another new team, Quantfury, have an all-Spanish driver line-up of Nerea Martí (ESP, 20) and Belen Garcia (ESP, 22). Nerea won multiple Spanish championships before joining W Series in 2021 when she scored points in every race to finish fourth in the championship as the best-placed rookie. Belen grew up surrounded by motorsport and, having initially raced bikes, soon swapped two wheels for four and raced in Spanish F4 before joining W Series last year when she finished 10th.  

PUMA has been W Series’ racewear partner since 2019 and broke the mould during W Series’ second season by tailoring racewear specifically for female drivers for the very first time. Having entered their own team in 2021, PUMA returns with multiple W Series race-winner Emma Kimiläinen (FIN, 32) spearheading the team. Emma is a racer of many talents, having most recently represented Finland in the 2022 Race of Champions alongside ex-Formula 1 driver Mika Hakkinen. Joining Emma is W Series rookie Tereza Babickova (CZE, 19), whose prowess in karting will make this line-up an exciting one to watch. 

Click2Drive Bristol Street Motors Racing W Series Team joins teams’ championship with an all-British driver pairing of Alice (UK, 29) and Jessica Hawkins (UK, 27). Last year’s runner-up, Alice returns to W Series for a third season and has a wealth of racing experience to her name. She was the first woman to win a Formula Renault championship in 2010 and, two years later, became the first woman to score points in the GP3 Series. Alice is also a motorsport commentator and analyst, appearing in the Formula 2 commentary box, as well as on Channel 4 and ITV in the UK. Jessica is well known for her bobble hat and stunt driving skills, having appeared in ‘Fast and Furious Live’ and the most recent James Bond film, ‘No Time to Die’. Jessica – who has finished 11th in both of her W Series campaigns – is also a Driver Ambassador for the Aston Martin F1 Team.

Scuderia W is another team with an all-British line-up. Sarah Moore (UK, 28) remains with the team from 2021 when she finished fifth thanks to three top-four finishes. That included a podium at the opening race of the season in Austria where she became the first openly LGBTQ+ driver to stand on an F1 podium. Sarah has an array of awards and titles to her name, including a prestigious BRDC Rising Star. Like Sarah, her team-mate Abbie Eaton (UK, 30) hails from Yorkshire and is an ambassador for Racing Pride, which promotes LGBTQ+ inclusivity within motorsport. Abbie made her W Series debut in 2021 and recorded four top-10 finishes from the first six races. A back injury in the first race of the season-ending double-header in Austin brought Abbie’s season to a premature end, but she has worked tirelessly during the off-season to regain full fitness.

Racing X returns for a second year in W Series with talented young British driver Abbi Pulling (UK, 19) and Brazilian Bruna Tomaselli (BRA, 24). Abbi made her W Series debut at Silverstone last year and, despite competing in just half of the season’s eight races in her role as a reserve driver, finished seventh in the championship thanks largely to a runner-up finish in the final race at COTA where she took her maiden W Series pole position. Now part of the Alpine F1 team’s driver academy, Abbi recently became the first woman to drive an F1 car in Saudi Arabia alongside Aseel Al Hamad. Bruna joined the USA’s Road to Indy programme in 2017, and now represents Brazil on F1 grand prix weekends across the globe, scoring two W Series top-10 finishes in 2021.

Sirin Racing will also be on the W Series grid again in 2022 with an all-Dutch line-up of Beitske Visser (NED, 27) and Emely De Heus (NED, 19). Beitske has an impressive W Series record, finishing second in the inaugural season and winning the 2020 W Series Esports League. With experience in European Le Mans and a W Series race victory to her name, Beitske is back and looking to build on a strong finish to last season when she finished both COTA races in fifth to earn automatic qualification for 2022. After racing for MP Motorsport in Spanish F4 last season, Emely was selected to test for W Series in Arizona and Barcelona where she impressed the series’ Racing Director, Dave Ryan, sufficiently to earn a seat.

The two youngest drivers on the grid this year, Bianca Bustamante (PHI, 17) and Juju Noda (JPN, 16) will compete in W Series for the next two seasons as part of the W Series Academy Team programme, which supports the development of young female talent across all motorsport disciplines. Juju started racing karts aged three and had driven an F4 car before she was 10. Two years later, she drove an F3 car for the first time and, aged 14, she joined the 2020 Danish F4 championship, winning a race and scoring three more podium finishes. Juju made her debut in a W Series car at the 2022 pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain, in February and, at 16, will be the youngest-ever driver to race in W Series. Bianca burst on to the karting scene aged five and became a three-time Philippines Karting Driver of the Year, two-time Asian Junior Karting Open champion, four-time China Grand Prix Kart Scholarship winner, and three-time Macau International Kart GP champion. She was awarded an FIA Girls on Track Rising Stars scholarship in 2021, before being invited to take part in a test for prospective W Series drivers in Arizona at the start of this year.

More races, new circuits, new teams, and new drivers – this is the 2022 W Series season and the countdown to lights out is almost over…