W Series announces that the top eight drivers at the end of this season will qualify automatically for the 2022 season.
With a maximum 50 points available at the season-ending double-header at the Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, USA, on 23-24 October, all 18 drivers on the grid will have the chance to guarantee their seat for next year, as just 22 points separates the eighth and last-placed drivers in the championship standings after six of this season’s eight races.
As members of the W Series Academy, Nerea Martí (19, ESP) and Irina Sidorkova (18, RUS) are guaranteed drives until the end of the 2022 season irrespective of their finishing position this year. Level on 109 points and 34 points clear of nearest challenger Emma Kimiläinen (Ecurie W, FIN) at the top of the championship standings, Alice Powell (Racing X, GBR) and Jamie Chadwick (Veloce Racing, GBR) have already given themselves the option of returning to W Series next year. If this season’s champion chooses to defend their title, they will be ineligible for FIA Super Licence points in 2022.
Despite competing in just two rounds so far this season, reserve driver Abbi Pulling (PUMA W Series Team, GBR) could qualify automatically for next year when she races at COTA. The 18-year-old is 12 points behind eighth-placed driver Belen Garcia (Scuderia W, ESP) having finished eighth on her debut at Silverstone in July and seventh at Zandvoort last month.
Catherine Bond Muir (Chief Executive Officer, W Series) said:
“I am delighted to announce that our top eight drivers this year will be guaranteed a W Series drive in 2022. At the end of our inaugural season in 2019, 12 drivers earned the right to return to W Series for season two when we vowed to return bigger and better. This year’s reduced number of automatic qualifiers is further proof that we have done just that. Our landmark partnership with Formula 1 has resulted in increased interest in the series around the world and a larger pool of talented female racing drivers from which to choose from in season three.
“With Alice [Powell] and Jamie [Chadwick] level on points at the top of the standings going into the final round, we were already guaranteed a grandstand finish to our season at the Circuit of the Americas. Today’s news ensures the drama will be compelling throughout the field as every driver on the grid looks to seize this final opportunity to shine on motor racing’s biggest stage and ensure they don’t miss out on what promises to be another great W Series season next year.”