Hamilton hails W Series tie-up with F1

·2-min read

Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has called for more women in motorsport after the all-female W Series announced that its races will be supporting Formula One at eight grands prix next season.

There are no female drivers in Formula One, with Italian Lella Lombardi the last to compete in a race in 1976, and women racers are a rarity in the junior series that feed into the top category.

Hamilton said F1's partnership with W Series, which uses Formula Three cars and aims to help women up the motorsport ladder, was a positive step.

No details were given about which grands prix the W series would race at, although founder and chief executive Catherine Bond Muir told reporters that F1's season-opener in Australia in March was probably too early.

"When people talk about diversity, people often think that we're talking about having more people of colour," said Hamilton, Formula One's only Black driver.

"It's not just that. It is having more women involved. At the moment it is a male-dominated sport and that does need to change."

This year's cancelled W Series championship would have supported grands prix in Mexico and the United States in October, and that could again be a possibility.

The series started up in 2019 but cancelled racing this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"When we promised that W Series would be bigger and better in the future, partnering with Formula One was always our ultimate objective," said Bond Muir.

"There is no doubt that, now that W Series will be run alongside and in collaboration with Formula One, our global reach, impact and influence will be increased significantly."

Britain's Jamie Chadwick was the inaugural champion of the series, which featured six rounds supporting the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) and paid out $US500,000 ($A690,398) to the winner.

Top drivers in the series will be eligible for points towards an FIA super licence needed to race in Formula One.

Formula One's managing director for motorsport Ross Brawn said W Series had been "a beacon to many" since the championship started.

"We believe it is incredibly important to give everyone the chance to reach the highest levels of our sport," he added.