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F1 2022

Hawkins on F1's new female-only series: Don't disregard older W Series drivers

W Series driver Jessica Hawkins has welcomed the prospect of another all-female championship but believes there is still a place for the existing W Series drivers.

Jessica Hawkins W Series Miami 2022
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Jessica Hawkins believes that W Series, and the W Series drivers, will continue to play an important role in the progression of female racing drivers, despite F1 intention to launch a similar racing series.

It was recently revealed that Formula 1 was targeting the introduction of a new female-only racing series, possibly as early as next season.

The news came not long after the curtailment of the third W Series season, which was unable to run its final three rounds due to funding issues.

The planning for a new all-female racing feeder series, believed to be planned at a Formula 4 level, is still in the early stages and would still be required to go through the usual approval processes with the FIA.

Several of the W Series drivers have secured roles in Formula 1 since the championship's introduction, including Hawkins, who now is also a Driver Ambassador for the Aston Martin F1 team.

Hawkins unwilling to create a rivalry with F1's series

The timing of the revelation of an F1-backed female racing series has raised eyebrows, but it is said that the intention is for the two championships to coexist.

Hawkins expressed her support for the series and believed that having the championships compete against each other would be detrimental for both series.

"To be honest, we don't really know too much about it. I don't know how long these conversations have been going for, but I can only see it as a positive," Hawkins told media, including RacingNews365.com.

"Any championship that helps females out should be welcomed, and we should do everything we can to welcome it.

"I also would like to think that it would work alongside W series, I would hate to think that they would ever be competing against each other, because that's not what we're fighting for here.

"It's not who has got the best championship, it's how we work together. We're all trying to achieve the same thing. So, yes, I think it's a positive thing."

Hawkins: It's not too late for W Series drivers

The angle of the potential F1-backed, female-only championship would be to increase opportunities for younger female drivers, and for the series to act as a potential feeder for Formula 2 and Formula 3.

Whilst Hawkins was happy to support more progression opportunities for female drivers, she believed it was short-sighted to dismiss the existing W Series drivers as 'too old', and cited Aston Martin's decision to sign Fernando Alonso as an example of older-generation talent.

"I do think that it would be a shame to completely disregard all the work that W series has done. It was ground-breaking on that front," added Hawkins.

"With this new Formula 4 championship, their concerns with W series were, I think they said that they were too old, they were concerned about the age of some of the drivers in the W Series.

"We do need it more at grassroots level, we probably also need some kind of karting academy as well, to give a whole pathway.

"Why are we looking to find someone very young? At Aston Martin, we've just signed a 41-year-old, who's still in his peak performance.

"Why don't we use what we've got already to help drive that forward?

"I don't think that Formula One's [new] F4 championship is going to cure all the issues, but it will certainly be a massive help, and I welcome that, but let's not disregard the ones that have already done well, it's not too late for the slightly older ones."

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So how did the team do this, and what changes have been made to F1's pit-stop procedure in the last couple of years?

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