W Series faces scheduling challenge as other organisers juggle schedules
The W Series, the international all-women motor racing championship which debuted last year, is reported to be on the verge of postponing its first three rounds, as the coronavirus continues to impact on the 2020 sporting calendar.
The news broke yesterday that DTM, the Germany-based touring car series, which the W Series planned on supporting in the first half of its 2020 season, would be postponing half of its races, and instead of starting on 26 April in Belgium, would instead begin on 10 July in Germany.
DTM will therefore be finishing significantly later than planned as well, with its last race of 2020 being in Italy on 13 to 15 November.
The W Series, which had planned eight rounds in Europe and the Americas this year, is still officially due to begin on 29 May in St. Petersburg in Russia. However, its races in Russia, Sweden, and Italy, all due to take place before 10 July, would then have to take place on a standalone basis, which would create issues in terms of visibility and sponsorship.
On the other hand, the series would also incur problems if it chose to change tack and postpone its races to the autumn, in order to be in line with DTM.
There have been reports in some quarters that it has already made the internal decision to do so, but nothing has been officially confirmed.
If it did chose this approach, its two races in USA and Mexico, set for 24 and 31 October respectively, would then face issues, as they had originally been scheduled for that point so as to be the exciting conclusion of the 2020 season. Instead, they would be followed by the final DTM-affiliated race in Monza..
The W Series had assumed the DTM season would be over by that point, and had specifically scheduled its first-ever races in the Americas, which will both take place the day before Formula 1 grands prix at the same venues, on that basis.
Earlier this year, Catherine Bond Muir, the series’ chief executive, said that “the US and Mexico are both very important territories for us.”
The series could face potential disruption to those two races anyway, with the Formula 1 calendar currently in turmoil. The series has already postponed or cancelled seven races, with the 2020 season currently set to start in mid-June in Canada.
If races that have been postponed from earlier in the season are then shoehorned into the summer or autumn months, the W Series could see its US and Mexico slots moved.
Following news of DTM rescheduling its season, the W Series said it was “continuing to discuss our position with DTM, F1 and the FIA (motorsport’s governing body).
“Given the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, we will not confirm a 2020 calendar until we have completed those discussions.”
The W Series secured broadcast deals in around 60 countries for the 2019 season, and claimed to be available in 130 million households worldwide.