W Series to feature at US and Mexico Grand Prix weekends

The W Series is adding races in the United States and Mexico to its 2020 calendar, organisers of the all-female championship have announced.

The races at the Circuit of the Americas and the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez will form part of the weekend support package for the respective two Formula 1 Grand Prix events being held at the venues at the end of October.

It will be the first time that the W Series has ventured outside Europe, where this season it is set to run as alongside the DTM championship. Williams F1 development driver Jamie Chadwick is returning to defend her title.

The news was welcomed by F1’s managing director for motorsport, Ross Brawn, who said: “We are delighted to welcome W Series to two such spectacular events of the 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship such as those in Austin and Mexico City.

“The ability for the great crowds who traditionally attend the Austin and Mexico City Grands Prix to see these talented female drivers up close will definitely further raise the awareness of the importance of inclusion and diversity in motorsport.

“In just one year, W Series has contributed significantly to increasing interest in the topic of diversity and inclusion in motorsport,” he continued. “We are convinced that our sport must offer equal opportunities for men and women to compete together

“It is no coincidence that improving the diversity of the F1 grid by supporting and promoting driver talent from under-represented backgrounds is one of our strategic objectives.”

The addition of the two new races on October 24 and October 31 will give the W Series a high profile ‘double header’ over consecutive weekends as a climax to its second season of competition.

“We at W Series are absolutely delighted that, in only our second season, our championship has been welcomed by Formula 1,” commented W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir.

Jamie Chadwick's 2020 car with ROKiT branding

© W Series

“We’re utterly thrilled that the final two races of the 2020 W Series season will therefore take place as part of the Formula 1 platform,” she added.

“Our two all-new races will follow six races on the DTM platform, making a very varied, extremely exciting and truly international eight-race championship, in eight countries across the globe.

“I’m particularly pleased that W Series will now stage races outside Europe, and the USA and Mexico are of course both very important new territories for us.

“Interest in and enthusiasm for W Series was enormous in our first season, 2019, among media and fans alike, and the addition of two all-new W Series races on the Formula 1 platform will inevitably increase that enthusiasm and interest.

“The fact that W Series will be even bigger and even better in 2020 than it was in 2019 will make the return on investment for our future sponsor-partners better and bigger, too.

“A lot of work has gone into stitching the W Series / Formula 1 deal together, but above all I want to thank W Series’drivers, the brave and talented young women who captured the imagination of the sporting world last summer.”

The full eight-race calendar for this year consists of:

  • May 30 – St Petersburg, Russiah
  • June 13 – Anderstorp, Sweden
  • June 27 – Monza, Italy
  • July 11 – Norisring, Germany
  • August 23 – Brands Hatch, UK
  • September 5 – Assen, Netherlands
  • October 24 – Austin, USA
  • October 31 – Mexico City, Mexico

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Brawn: Racing Point claims about 2021 cars not based on facts

F1 chief Ross Brawn responded to Andy Green’s claim that F1’s 2021 cars will be “nasty” to drive, insisting the Racing Point tech boss’ comments reflected an opinion rather than hard facts.

In a bid to promote closer racing and better overtaking in the future, F1 has introduced a ground-effect concept into the 2021 rules which also will also include a simpler front wing design.

However, Green contends that the restrictions on aerodynamics in this area will lead to “dirty air” upsetting a car’s underside venturi, and subsequently to very unpredictable handling.

But Brawn has dismissed Racing Point’s conclusions, believing that its research and simulation likely didn’t include a the proper tyre model.

“It wasn’t that long ago there didn’t exist a decent tyre model in terms of the aerodynamic impact the tyre has, because the front tyre is incredibly influential on the way the aerodynamics work,” Brawn said, quoted by RaceFans.net.

“One reason we’ve gone to an 18-inch wheel is partly to reduce that, because the movement of the sidewalls are so extreme on a 13-inch wheel.

“You can imagine in cornering, you’ve got this very dynamic tyre that’s distorting like mad at the contact patch and not distorting halfway up.


“I’d be amazed if Andrew Green has got a tyre model yet of an 18-inch tyre that tells him what the tyres are doing in cornering. We have. I don’t think he was.

“But just stepping back, this refinement has only existed in the last few years. I can remember 10 years ago we didn’t have the knowledge or simulations. We didn’t know what was going on.

“And I don’t think the cars 10 years ago were nasty to drive. I think we were a bit less refined than where they are now. So, I think it’s a bit premature to say that.”

Brawn also doubted whether Racing Point actually had the resources to conduct significant and accurate research into the 2021 regs.

“When we started work on the aero programme, Force India/Racing Point declared they would not be able to support the 2021 programme and have not been able to contribute anything to this program because of the resources they have,” asserted Brawn.

“So they’ve probably done the least amount of work on this program of any of the teams we’ve been involved.

“So it’s a bit of an unfortunate statement to be critical at this stage as I think it’s premature and not based on any facts they have, maybe opinion.

“I think once he gets into properly designing his car he’ll smooth out any anomalies he may have imagined.”

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Brawn: Ferrari drivers should admit mistakes, like Hamilton

F1 managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn believes Ferrari’s drivers should own up to mistakes and follow Lewis Hamilton’s example of taking responsibility for errors.

Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel clashed in the closing stages of Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix, causing their simultaneous demise from the race and a significant loss of points for their team.

In the heat of the moment, each driver pinned the responsibility of the skirmish on the other, while Scuderia boss Mattia Binotto qualified the on-track contact as “a silly mistake”, the Swiss summoning both men to Maranello this week for a meeting behind closed doors.

“It’s never nice when team-mates knock one another out of a race, even more so when it’s not even a particularly important result that goes begging, as in this case, third place in Brazil was the most they could aspire to,” Brawn wrote in his post-race debrief.

“After tensions flared in the races following the summer break, everything seemed to have calmed down in the Ferrari dressing room.

“But now, Mattia Binotto faces the tough task of getting things back on track and indeed he said just that in his interviews after the race.

“He had to get stuck in and tell the drivers to face up to their responsibilities, which in Maranello always means putting the interests of the team ahead of those of the individual, which was not the case in the race.”


Brawn suggested that Vettel and Leclerc should perhaps take a leaf out of Hamilton’s book on how to deal with mistakes.

The Mercedes driver was also involved in a late race clash at Interlagos when he punted Alex Albon into a spin and out of the points during an over-optimistic move on the inside of the Red Bull driver.

But the Brit immediately recognized his blunder and made it a point to apologize to Albon.

“I wouldn’t want to venture an opinion on who was most at fault for the collision, but in the cold light of day, maybe it would be good if one of them will follow Hamilton’s example and immediately admit culpability, as the champion did regarding his clash with Albon,” Brawn added.

“If Ferrari really wants to put an end to Mercedes’ dominance, not only does it need to provide its drivers with a more competitive car next year, it must also ensure that incidents like this one are not repeated.

“Formula 1 is a team sport, especially so in Maranello.”

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Brawn declines to speculate about Ferrari's US slump

Formula 1 sporting director Ross Brawn says that he doesn’t want to get drawn into speculation about Ferrari’s strangely off-colour performance in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix.

Ferrari have been on top since the summer break, combing superior engine power and top line speed with improved handling in the tight corners.

But that advantage suddenly seemed to disappear at the Circuit of the Americas, allowing Mercedes to clinch a 1-2 victory and Lewis Hamilton securing his sixth world championship title.

“Not since Barcelona had we seen a podium without a Ferrari driver on it,” admitted Brawn, after Charles Leclerc finished fourth and Sebastian Vettel retired with suspension failure early in the race.

“[Since] the summer break, Ferrari seemed to make a breakthrough as they scored six pole positions and three wins,” noted Brawn.

“The United States Grand Prix turned the clock back by six months,” he continued. “In the end the Maranello team went backwards.

“Not so much in qualifying where Vettel was just 0.012s behind Bottas, but definitely in the race, where Leclerc finished a whopping 52 seconds behind the Finn.

“The Ferrari man struggled particularly in the first stint on medium-compound Pirellis, lapping around a second down on the leader. Once he moved to the hard tyre, Leclerc was more competitive, but by then his chances of competing for a podium position were long gone.”

There had been mutterings in the paddock that Ferrari’s sudden loss of form in Austin might be connected to a new technical directive issued by the FIA in response to an enquiry from rival teams.

The enquiry questioned the way that Ferrari exploited a potential loophole in F1’s fuel flow engine regulations to gain an advantage in engine power while staying within the rules.

Ross Brawn (GBR) Managing Director, Motor Sports at a 2021 Regulations Press Conference. 31.10.2019.

“From the outside, it’s hard to explain the drop-off and I certainly don’t want to speculate about the latest FIA technical directive relating to fuel flow metering,” countered Brawn.

“What is clear, though, is that Ferrari struggled in Texas, especially when it came to tyre management. It wasn’t so much about making them last, but more about getting them to work properly.

“It’s true track conditions changed a lot over the course of the weekend, as the temperature went up significantly, but it’s equally true that Mercedes and Red Bull did a better job of adapting to the changing conditions.

“There’s a lot to do in Maranello over the coming days to analyse, reflect and come up with countermeasures, especially as this will also be useful for next year.”

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Brawn: Verstappen 'showed his age or lack of it' in Mexico

Ross Brawn says Max Verstappen must learn from his mistakes, with F1’s managing director of motorsport insisting the Red Bull driver “showed his age or lack of it” in Mexico.

Verstappen was on cloud nine after setting the fastest lap in qualifying, but the Dutchman’s enthusiasm was tempered by a three-spot grid penalty handed by the stewards for failing to slow after Valtteri Bottas’ crash at the end of Q3.

Verstappen launched his race on Sunday with the bit between his teeth, only to tangle with Lewis Hamilton at the first corner before picking up a puncture after a light contact with Bottas.

The 22-year-old did well however to recover to finish sixth overall, a performance appreciated by F1 fans who voted him as their “driver of the day”.

However, Brawn believes Verstappen still needs to learn from his errors, insisting his young age provides him with plenty of room for improvement.

“Max made a few mistakes that cost him dearly,” Brawn said in his usual post-race debrief.

“Starting on Saturday when he ignored yellow flags following Valtteri Bottas’ Q3 crash, and afterwards blatantly admitting that he had not reduced his speed.

“Then, on Sunday, the red mist came down on the first lap as he tangled with Hamilton in Turn 2 after the start.

“To make matters worse he picked up a puncture following a somewhat ambitious move past Bottas in the stadium section a few laps later. And that was pretty much that.”

“There will be little consolation in his spirited fight back to sixth from P20 that involved a marathon 66-lap stint on hard tyres.

“The Dutchman showed his age or lack of it. He’s still only 22 and so there is plenty of room for improvement,” Brawn added.

“The important thing is to learn from one’s mistakes, which applies even if you’re 50 but perhaps a little more so at 22.

“You have to win the ones you should win and the ones you shouldn’t as demonstrated by Lewis – that is how you become a world champion.”

Indeed, Brawn praised Hamilton and Mercedes for the pair’s Mexican masterclass and the skill and strategy it demonstrated to overcome its opposition.

“In some ways, this race reflected the season as a whole – this year is the first in the hybrid era in which Mercedes’ technical superiority has been challenged,” Brawn said.

“But at the same time the driver and team have found a way of getting the best out of their package, making the most of any unexpected circumstances and the mistakes of others.

“Record beating runs are built like this.”

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Brawn: F1 will keep three-day format

The shortened race weekend may have worked a treat in Japan, but Formula 1 has no plans to switch from a three-day to a two-day programme in the near future.

With Typhoon Hagibis wreaking havoc, it meant F1 bosses had to tweak the weekend schedule at Suzuka and it meant Saturday’s FP3 session was cancelled while qualifying was moved to Sunday morning.

It proved to be a success with Lewis Hamilton saying that it made for a more entertaining Friday than normal.

The sport’s rulemakers are exploring ways to make F1 more enjoyable and they are considering tweaking the race weekend, but sporting chief Ross Brawn says they will stick to the current three days with the Friday programme likely to be changed.

“The format is an aspect of the sport we have focused on in some detail as we work towards the rules that will govern Formula 1 over the coming years and we have taken into account the voices of all of the key players – the promoters, the teams and last but not least the fans,” he said.

“I’ll be honest and say that there has been strong consensus, especially among the organisers, for maintaining the three-day format of track activity, although with a different timetable.

“It’s true that a day like Sunday in Suzuka offers a great show in just a few hours but it would confine the feeder series races to the previous days.

“After careful analysis we have concluded that the best solution is to keep the event over three days, revising the Friday format but leaving the rest untouched, with qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday.”

Formula 1 will have a record 22 races in 2020, which will no doubt put a heavier burden not only on the drivers, but also those working behind the scenes.

Brawn admits they are trying to come up with ways to ease the load.

“In order to meet the demands of the teams and in order to slightly increase the number of Grands Prix, which will be at 22 next year, we have given consideration to reorganising the schedule so that teams and drivers can arrive a day later,” he added.

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Ferrari hat-trick 'definitely not a revolution' for F1 – Brawn

Formula 1 motorsport boss Ross Brawn says Ferrari’s resurgence in the past few weeks doesn’t signal a revolution among the sport’s front-runners as Mercedes remains the team to beat.

After failing to win in the first part of the 2019 season, although it came close on several occasions, Ferrari hit the ground running after F1’s summer break, raking in three consecutive victories at Spa, Monza and Singapore.

The Scuderia’s unexpected triumph at Marina Bay – a venue which on paper appeared unsuited for the Italian outfit’s low-drag SF90 – underscored its car’s now all-round qualities and led Lewis Hamilton to say that the House of Maranello now had the edge over Mercedes.

While Brawn welcomed the Scuderia’s success, the former Ferrari engineer doesn’t believe his former team has taken over the reins of F1.

“For two thirds of the season it was the almost unanimous opinion that in simple terms of the top three teams, Ferrari was strong on tracks where the engine made the difference and it was also the perceived wisdom that Red Bull was in with a chance on tracks where aero was more important, while Mercedes had the more complete package and was better able to manage the tyres,” commented Brawn in his Singapore Grand Prix post-race review.

“However, after the race in Singapore we find ourselves commenting on a one-two finish for Ferrari and a podium without a Mercedes driver.

“Have we witnessed a revolution in the space of a fortnight?

“Definitely not, as the Silver Arrows are still the strongest at every race and their rivals have to do everything perfectly if they want to beat them.”

Mercedes and Hamilton’s lead in their respective championships practically guarantees their crowning at the end of the season.

Yet Brawn insists there will be no letting up by the front-running teams during the final stretch of the season.

“With no major rule changes next year, continuing with car development even when the championship fight is more or less decided, still makes more sense and can add value for 2020,” said the F1 chief.

“So, for Ferrari, it was important to be competitive on a track like Singapore and in a certain sense, this will help Mercedes because it now knows it can’t relax for a moment if it wants to continue to dominate in the hybrid era.

“That battle, which also includes Red Bull will, make for an even more exciting end to the season, because the three teams will be fighting it out at each Grand Prix regardless of the impact on the Championships.

“Not just for reasons of competition or prestige but also to be in the best position for 2020.”

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Brawn: 'Vettel mistakes can no longer be seen as coincidence'

Formula 1 sporting boss Ross Brawn believes Sebastian Vettel has perhaps lost his way, suggesting his recent string of mishaps was not the product of coincidences.

Vettel’s already complicated task of hanging on to his title hopes against rival Lewis Hamilton was rendered even more unsurmountable after two errors last weekend in Austin.

The Ferrari driver was handed a three-spot grid penalty for speeding under the red flag in free practice, and then spun on the opening lap of Sunday’s race after a contact with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

His latest mistakes added to a costly tally that also included a run-in with Valtteri Bottas in France, a blunder at Hockenheim that cost him a sure win and another first lap set-back in Monza when he collided with Hamilton.

Brawn, who successfully managed several title bids for Ferrari during its golden Schumacher era, casts a critical view on Vettel’s campaign which has been marked by too many errors and lost opportunities.

“On Friday there was a small one, when he failed to slow sufficiently for red flags, and he paid the price with a three-place penalty,” said Brawn.

“Then, in the race, he yet again collided with a Red Bull, this time Ricciardo’s, and once again Vettel came off worst.

“It was another lost opportunity to close the gap in the title fight, especially when we saw what Raikkonen did with the same car.

“I certainly don’t want to put Vettel in the dock, but these incidents can no longer be seen as coincidence.

“Rather they would seem to indicate that Sebastian is a bit out of sorts at the moment.”

While Brawn is convinced that Vettel’s talent remains intact, he suggests that Ferrari must find the way to harness the German’s potential.

“Now, any hope of bringing the drivers’ title back to Maranello is dwindling and the time has come to do the maths,” said Brawn.

“Their most important task is to work out how to help Vettel make the most of his massive talent.

“You don’t become a four-time world champion for no reason and Sebastian has definitely not forgotten how to win.

“In a sport as complicated as Formula 1, you only reach your goals if all the pieces of the jigsaw fall into place,” he added.

“If just one piece is missing everything is compromised.”

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