W Series has confirmed that the top eight drivers in the points standings this season will automatically qualify for the 2022 season.
With such a tight season – eighth to last in the standings is covered by just 22 points – every driver has a mathematical chance of finishing inside the top eight with 50 points available during the season-ending double-header at next weekend’s United States Grand Prix.
As members of the W Series Academy, Nerea Martí and Irina Sidorkova are guaranteed drives until the end of the 2022 season irrespective of their finishing position this year.
Level on 109 points and 34 points clear of nearest challenger Emma Kimiläinen at the top of the championship standings, Alice Powell and Jamie Chadwick have already given themselves the option of returning to W Series next year.
However if this season’s champion chooses to defend their title, they will be ineligible for FIA Super Licence points in 2022.
Despite competing in just two rounds so far this season, reserve driver Abbi Pulling could qualify automatically for next year when she races at COTA. The 18-year-old is 12 points behind eighth-placed driver Belen Garcia having finished eighth on her debut at Silverstone in July and seventh at Zandvoort last month.
“I am delighted to announce that our top eight drivers this year will be guaranteed a W Series drive in 2022,” said Catherine Bond Muir, series CEO. “At the end of our inaugural season in 2019, 12 drivers earned the right to return to W Series for season two when we vowed to return bigger and better. This year’s reduced number of automatic qualifiers is further proof that we have done just that. Our landmark partnership with Formula 1 has resulted in increased interest in the series around the world and a larger pool of talented female racing drivers from which to choose from in season three.
“With Alice [Powell] and Jamie [Chadwick] level on points at the top of the standings going into the final round, we were already guaranteed a grandstand finish to our season at the Circuit of the Americas. Today’s news ensures the drama will be compelling throughout the field as every driver on the grid looks to seize this final opportunity to shine on motor racing’s biggest stage and ensure they don’t miss out on what promises to be another great W Series season next year.”