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Bratches says cluttered F1 undercard left no space for a W Series all-female support race

Formula One’s commercial managing director Sean Bratches has revealed that talks about the W Series, the new all-female single-seater motor racing competition, becoming a Formula One support race broke down because there wasn’t enough space on the F1 undercard.

In early May, former F1 driver and chairman of the W Series advisory board David Coulthard said discussions had taken place between the two parties about the new female category being given a similar billing to other races on the Formula One support programme such as F2, F3 and the Porsche Supercup.

Speaking at the Sport Industry Breakfast Club, Bratches said: “The challenge we had there was that we had contractual commitments to those series so there really wasn’t a lot of room to race.”

“The Grand Prix where we did have capacity, the W Series wasn’t overly enamoured with those locations, I think in large part from a cost standpoint.”

As it presently stands, the W Series race calendar consists of five races on the undercard of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) touring car series. The races all take place on European circuits to keep the costs of the start-up event low. F2 is part of the Formula One undercard for a number of races in Europe and the Middle East while F3 races are held exclusively on European circuits for similar reasons.

Bratches welcomed the introduction of the all-female category and said the two parties would continue to have conversations about a future partnership.

“We actually think that motorsport is one of the unique sports where female drivers and male drivers, athletes, can compete on the same grid, and we’re seeing it in Formula Two. We hope in the future, in addition to drivers from certain markets that will help us to drive our OTT product, we will have women drivers who can do very well for the sport from a marketing standpoint. When Danica Patrick went into Nascar that was just a boon for Nascar in terms of appeal.”

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