Looming financial problems could mean an early end to W Series

A W Series race is underway. France, July 2022.

The final two races of the 2022 W Series season may not go ahead as the sport struggles to stay afloat following the pound’s fall in value.

Jamie Chadwick is on course to secure her third successive title this weekend with the race in Singapore, but the United States and Mexican Grands Prix may not go ahead as planned after it was reported the series owes substantial sums to creditors.

The Daily Telegraph reported that Whisper, who are one of the sport’s biggest creditors and founded by David Coulthard alongside broadcaster Jake Humphrey, will not be sending their crew out to the race in Asia this weekend as a result of the financial issues.

The W Series’ hospitality providers, Velocity Experience, are also said to be owed a significant sum while the Telegraph reports multiple independent contractors have not been paid invoices worth thousands of pounds which date back months.

The series was set-up by Catherine Bond Muir, a former lawyer and corporate financier, in 2018 and funding has remained an issue throughout that time.

This season, the series has been running as a support to Formula 1 and has so far completed five rounds in Miami, Barcelona, Silverstone, Le Castellet and Budapest with Chadwick leading the Championship by 75 points.

Bond Muir put the recent troubles down to the decrease in the pound’s value, following a ‘mini-budget’ announced by new Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng and UK Prime Minister Liz Truss which saw the pound decrease to its lowest-ever value against the US dollar.

“We’re having lots of conversations at the moment and I’m very optimistic,” Bond Muir said on Wednesday. “We’ve had to fight from day one. It has always been a struggle but we’re fighters.

“We’re looking at our budgets. We’re confident that we’ll continue to raise money.

“You have to understand W Series is a brand new sport. Tennis has equality now because Billie-Jean King fought for those rights 50 years ago. Football is slowly starting to become more equal. Rugby? We saw recently that England’s women flew economy to the World Cup where their male counterparts flew business.

“It takes time. We’re only in our third season. But we have had a huge impact already and we are a force for good.”

Bond Muir was unable to confirm the final two races of the season would go ahead or that all drivers would receive their prize money.

The Telegraph also reports that a multi-million pound deal with an unnamed American investor recently fell through after the contracts were signed.

One of the sport’s main drawing points, as well as the promotion of female participation in motorsport, is the amount of prize money handed out each year. The Championship winner receives $500,000 out of a total prize pot of $1.5million. Chadwick, who stands to win that amount for a third time this weekend, said the drivers had been briefed on the situation.

“When we were all briefed about the situation, it’s really cool to see how much the series means to everyone,” Chadwick told reporters, as per Reuters.

“It’s been a huge opportunity for all of us and I think there’s a bit of emotion that comes with that and all of us obviously don’t want to see it go.

“In that sense we all want to fight as much as we can to help and support the series in the right way.”

Read more: ‘Red Bull significantly exceeded the cap in 2021, rivals demand severe penalties’

 

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