Jamie Chadwick made history in August as the first woman to win a British Formula 3 race
12 October, 2018, 15:47
W Series will host six races around Europe, including one round in the United Kingdom, with 20 of the world's leading female racing drivers to compete for a $1.5m (£1.14m) prize fund. The organisers said: "The inaugural W Series season will encompass a number of races run on some of the best and most famous circuits in Europe, most of which have staged Formula 1 races for many decades". In forthcoming seasons the W Series schedule is set also to include races in America, Asia and Australia.
Each prospective racer will go through a rigorous pre-selection process which involves simulator appraisals, technical engineering tests, fitness trials and on-track testing.
"In order to be a successful racing driver, you have to be skilled, determined, competitive, courageous and physically fit", he said.
In revealing the league, Coulthard said he believes women can compete with men on equal terms but needed a platform to show it without the expectation of providing funding and sponsorship.
W Series chief executive Catherine Bond Muir said: "There are just too few women competing in single-seater series at the moment".
She said: "This series is founded on segregation, and while it may create opportunities for some female drivers, it sends a clear message that segregation is acceptable. Those with funding to help female racing drivers are choosing to segregate them as opposed to supporting them".
The victor of the championship will win $500,000 and the total prize pot consists of $1.5 million, with each prize being help for drivers to help fund a potential F1-career in the future.
A new women-only motor sport championship will launch next year with the aim of growing participation and to "find female Formula 1 stars" of the future, The Guardianreports.
Some Formula One drivers, past and present, expressed support.
"W series is a fundamental change in creating an opportunity to bring through female talent to the highest possible level".
Jamie Chadwick, who is now eighth in British F3 and became the first woman to win a race in the series in August, also believes W Series will create opportunities for female racing drivers. The series ultimate goal is be the launching pad for the world's first female Formula 1 champion.
No woman has scored a point in F1, although Italian Lella Lombardi scored a half point in the shortened 1975 Spanish Grand Prix.
Female drivers have earned some degree of visibility - and a considerable amount of success - in the US, however only two women have ever lined up on a Formula 1 grid.
Giovanna Amati was the last to attempt to enter a race in 1992, failing to qualify.
The initiative has proved divisive, with several top women drivers unhappy with the concept of the W Series.
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