W Series to limit 2020 new driver test to less than 20 drivers
W Series Racing Director Dave Ryan has said the fledgling woman-only series is “not proactively recruiting” and has already had more than 40 applicants for the eight available seats in the 2020 season.
In a Q&A posted on the W Series website, Ryan described the preparations underway for September’s new driver test, as well as answering questions regarding the application process.
The top 12 drivers from the 2019 season are automatically eligible for the 2020 W Series, with eight seats up-for-grabs among new applicants.
The 2019 longlist comprised of 61 drivers who attended an evaluation camp, before a shortlist of 28 drivers competed in the final test to select the 18 race drivers and 4 substitutes.
Aspiring applicants for 2020 must already possess an FIA International C racing licence. The 2020 W Series will be eligible for FIA Super Licence points, which drivers must earn if they wish to race in Formula One.
When asked about the number of applicants for the 2020 season, Ryan replied:
Altogether we’ve had more than 40 new applications. Inevitably some look quite promising and others rather less so, so there’s no way we’ll test anything like 40. We’ll more likely test about a third of that number.
Ryan also described how he was looking towards existing W Series drivers as favourites for the 2020 title, but described his hopes for fresh blood: “it would be wonderful if some of them were able to mix it with the established W Series stars.”
Catherine Bond Muir, W Series CEO, has said that “we fully intend that the 2020 W Series season will be bigger and better.”
In May it was revealed the W Series team had considered attending the Australian Grand Prix as a support category, with Chairman and ex-F1 driver David Coulthard reportedly telling the board, “we’ve got to be in Australia, at the grand prix, the first race.”
Coulthard said at the time that the series’ support at the 2020 Australian Grand Prix was a “definite option”.
Read the full Q&A at the W Series website before the New Driver Test at Almeria on September 16.