W Series has secured a partnership with Formula 1 that will involve eight races on grand prix bills when it resumes real-world racing in 2021.
The all-female single-seater development series was due to join F1 for the first time this year with support slots at the United States and Mexican GPs.
But amid the coronavirus pandemic, W Series opted against running in 2020 and focused solely on its Esports League. The Austin and Mexico City races were also among the grands prix lost to F1’s calendar revisions in any case.
Details of which F1 races W Series will appear at next season have not yet been announced.
The F1 support bill is already getting a new look for next year following the news that Formula 2 and Formula 3 – which have followed largely identical calendars for their European legs in particular – would no longer appear at the same F1 races and would instead alternate slots.
W Series chief executive officer Catherine Bond Muir said a partnership with F1 had long been the championship’s aim.
“Formula 1 is by some margin the world’s premier motor racing series, and, when we promised that W Series would be bigger and better in the future, partnering with Formula 1 was always our ultimate objective,” she said.
“There is no doubt that, now that W Series will be run alongside and in collaboration with Formula 1, our global reach, impact and influence will be increased significantly.
“Everything that made W Series so popular and successful in 2019 will remain. The cars will be identical, the racing will be close and competitive, and our mission will always be to further the interests and prospects of female racing drivers.
“We want W Series to entertain, and entertain it will. But we also want it to become a crucial default-option stepping stone for any female racing driver who wants to carve out a professional racing career, and our proximity to Formula 1 will help and enhance that process.
“The fact that W Series is now eligible for FIA superlicence points will also be an important factor in that regard.”
W Series ran on the DTM bill in its first season in 2019, which was won by Jamie Chadwick – who now has a development role with the Williams F1 team.
Beitske Visser dominated this season’s esports championship.