W Series: 5 Takeaways from Singapore

W Series - Singapore - Beitske Visser

It was the W Series’ first trip to the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore and the first ever DNF for champion Jamie Chadwick.

The W Series’ arrival in Singapore was planned at the start of the year, but it proved to be an eventful few days for the series. A new 2022 winner and a dramatic DNF. Should Singapore return in the future? And if there even is a future, who are the 2023 contenders?

Quick shoutout to my prediction last week – Beitske Visser picking up her first win of the season. Now on to the key takeaways from the weekend.

1 – Visser’s Payoff

While Jamie Chadwick has dominated the headlines this season, Beitske Visser has slowly been moving into the role of a race-winning contender. She had an opening round podium in the first race at Miami, followed by a seventh. She’s never finished lower than that this season, consistently improving her results. Two fifth-place finishes, followed by a fourth, and then on the podium in third in Hungary. Sunday marked her second-ever W Series first (Zolder in 2019), but a huge moment after a difficult 2021. Last season Visser finished 8th in the Championship with her best result a trio of fifths. While the title fight is all but over in 2022, Visser should be considered one of the favorites for 2023 with the form she has shown so far this year.

Beitsker Visser said after the race, “I was very happy with that one. It is such a relief to get the win and I’ve been waiting for it for a long time. I think it’s been coming for the last few races as we’ve always been there. I got a good start and in the first few laps I was very strong.”

2 – Hello & Goodbye to Singapore?

In July, the W Series announced that the Marina Bay Street Circuit would be stepping in for Suzuka. They noted ‘operational issues’ as the reason for the late switch. So the series was never supposed to arrive in Singapore. And it’s clear why neither F2 nor F3 has it on their calendar as well. The circuit is difficult for F1 cars and drivers to overtake. Sending a grid of drivers who had never been to the track before, in less powerful cars, and few overtaking zones produced a lackluster event for the W Series. A bad time for not the most entertaining race. The W Series should focus on high-speed, fast corner circuits that have more passing zones throughout the European and North American regions.

3 – Jamie Chadwick’s first DNF

Chadwick, barring a series of dramatic results, will claim the 2022 W Series Championship. Her third title. But Sunday saw a rough weekend turn into a historic first for Chadwick. A slow first run in qualifying followed by increased rain saw her line up eighth on the grid. She made a few initial overtakes but then remained stuck behind Jessica Hawkins for the majority of the race. With the title one step closer and only a few laps left, she took an unnecessary risk and made an unexpected error.

Chadwick’s dominance in the W Series is known, but she simply never had an off race. In 2019 her worst finish was fourth. In 2020 she finished every race on the podium except one, a sixth. Heading into Singapore Chadwick had won five of the first six rounds, finishing second last time out in Hungary. That’s 20 W Series races, 11 wins, 7 further podiums, a fourth, and a sixth. Zero DNFs, she always performs and never makes a mistake that takes her out of a race. Hopefully, for Chadwick, this isn’t the last round of the season and her last action in the series.

4 – Financial Uncertainty

Leading up to the race news broke that the W Series is at financial risk of collapse. Reports indicate that a major investor pulled out of a deal late on and has left the series scrambling to keep the season afloat. They are over $8 million in debt and are unsure at the time of writing if they will continue on to the United States and Mexico. It’s expected that the W Series will announce at some point this week if they will be able to continue on to the North America conclusion of the 2022 season or halt operations.

It would be tremendously disappointing for the season to end in this manner. Not to mention the series in its entirety.

5 – Depth for 2023

Let’s assume for now there is a 2023 and that Jamie Chadwick moves on to Indy Lights or Formula 2/3. It’s honestly a good thing for the series. Chadwick is clearly talented and ready to move on. But her absence will allow the rest of the field to continue developing and improve the balance across the grid. Eight other drivers have all finished on the podium at least once this season. Add in Sarah Moore, who has finished in the points every single race, and you’ve already got nine quality drivers ready to battle for poles, podiums, and wins in 2023. Getting out from underneath the shadow and dominance of Chadwick is the best next step for the W Series.

Technically, the next round for the W Series is at COTA (Austin, TX) on October 22nd. However, until we get an official update from the W Series that round, the season, and the series remain in doubt.

Featured Image Credit: W Series Media