The 2022 W Series season had to be abruptly stopped. But with an aim to return in 2023, what do we know so far about next year?
On Monday we got the unfortunate, but expected, announcement that the 2022 W Series season was over. After what had been a promising third campaign for the series, this will be a difficult, but not impossible, hurdle to overcome. Visibility and presentation definitely improved this season and several young drivers were beginning to emerge from the shadow of Jamie Chadwick. Let’s dive into a few questions.
Why did 2022 have to end?
The short answer is funding. With an estimated $8 million in debts, the W Series believed it would continue operations as planned thanks to a new investor. However, that funding never arrived and in turn, left the series with very little time to recover from the quick reversal of commitment. The press release stated, “business from a recent contracted investment was not received”.
So that’s it, everything is over for 2022?
Yes, most likely. The final three races of the season, Austin and the Mexico City doubleheader are officially canceled. However, we could see several of the drivers, like Alice Powell who is a test driver at Williams or Abbi Pulling for Alpine appear at any of the upcoming events. And you would imagine that W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir will be working relentlessly to secure funding for next season and continue the relationship with Formula 1.
So is there a 2022 Champion?
Yes. Jamie Chadwick wins her third consecutive W Series Championship. Beitske Visser finishes second with Alice Powell third.
𝟯 𝗫 𝗪 𝗦𝗘𝗥𝗜𝗘𝗦 𝗖𝗛𝗔𝗠𝗣𝗜𝗢𝗡 🏆
Four pole positions, five wins, @JamieChadwick has had an awesome season.
— W Series (@WSeriesRacing) October 11, 2022
How likely is there going to be a 2023 season?
More likely than not. There was already serious interest in new funding to complete the 2022 season. But given how late the previous investor failed to provide the funds, there was not enough time for due diligence. W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir noted in the press release that a primary goal was the “longer-term fundraising process to enable the longevity and financial health”. She also stated that “while we aren’t in a position to make a formal announcement yet, there are many positive conversations ongoing.”
When would a 2023 season start?
The 2022 season began in Miami on May 7th. The 2023 edition of the Miami Grand Prix in Formula 1 will take place on May 7th. With the W Series expected to lean heavily on its role as a support series for F1, this could be a tentative launch point. If not, and the series opts to have a more Euro-focused schedule in 2023 the series may not begin until June of 2023 with Barcelona.
What changes could we see to a 2023 W Series?
Catherine Bond Muir noted,
“Certainly we do want to still be on the F1 support bill, but obviously going forward, we need to be mindful of our costs. It would be prudent to have more European races than we have and European races are somewhat of a scarcity with F1.”
They had hoped for a ten-race 2023. You can imagine it would be fairly easy to maintain the relationship with those four tracks next year. If they could secure a place with Red Bull Rings and Zandvoort as well, which is a six-race summer European schedule. That reduces travel and costs. Even if Miami isn’t viable at that point, a doubleheader at Austin and a doubleheader in Mexico City would group the North American travel and see the series reach ten races once again.
A team or two may drop during this hiatus, but additional investors are likely to step in as the series has a lot of positive support. News may be scarce in the coming weeks, but hopefully, before the end of 2022, we have official word that the W Series will return in 2023.