W Series in strong position even with a fallow year, says chief executive | Sport

The W Series is strongly placed to ride out the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak even if it is unable to race this year, according to the chief executive of the all-female racing championship, Catherine Bond Muir.

The series designed to promote women in motor sport had a very successful inaugural season last year but has yet to hold a race in 2020 and still has no confirmed calendar. While sports across the board, including Formula One, are facing huge financial shortfalls with competition suspended, Muir is confident the championship’s financial structure would ensure its survival.

“Our business model is absolutely robust enough,” she said. “We will be racing next year irrespective of what happens this year.”

With the series still relatively new, it does not yet rely on the traditional revenue streams of many sports. It was set up and backed with private investment and equity. Its car is a one-make F3 model that does not require development and as a support series to the German DTM championship and at two F1 races, it did not receive payments from promoters. Nor is it dependent on broadcasting rights, although it had worldwide deals with broadcasters last year, including Channel 4 in the UK. Muir said she is “very comfortable” with where the series stands.

“At the moment we do not benefit from gate receipts so we have never relied on that money in order to continue,” she said. “Obviously in F1 their biggest incomes are money from promoters and TV money, they need to race in order to get that. For the next couple of years we are not reliant on those income streams for our financial liability. We don’t have the same business model. Ironically, being such a nascent business as we are, that has advantages to us.”

The championship was scheduled to hold an expanded eight-meeting season this year with six races on the DTM bill before concluding with the final two at the US and Mexican grands prix. However DTM remains in the process of assessing the potential for a new calendar as does F1, leaving W Series as yet able to confirm its plans.

DTM’s future is under threat. Last month Audi announcedit is to pull out of the sport at the end of the year, leaving BMW as the only manufacturer committed to the series. Muir, however, stressed that doubts about the viability of DTM are not of a major concern for the W Series.

“I just see opportunity, of where we can race and how we can race,” she said. “I don’t know where we are going to race next year but I am confident we can put deals in place to have a varied and exciting calendar.”
The W Series will also launch an all-female Esport championship featuring all 18 of the current drivers and including last year’s champion, Britain’s Jamie Chadwick, to begin within weeks.

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