(GMM) The female drivers signed up to race in the all-female ‘W Series’ are still waiting to see if the financial problems can be resolved.
Although the FIA is now pushing ahead with its own female-only ‘F1 Academy’ series, the original concept – W Series – collapsed late last year.
One of the drivers, Finnish 33-year-old Emma Kimilainen, admits the future of W Series is still under a cloud with the engines completely silent at present.
“We are in this situation for reasons independent of the series,” she told Iltalehti newspaper.
A key aspect of the business model was that all the drivers were actually paid by the series. The newspaper said Kimilainen made $125,000 in prize money in 2021 and $90,000 in 2019.
When financial trouble struck, a deal with a new investor emerged.
But Kimilainen now reveals: “The money owing to the series was never paid.
“A big deal had been made with the investor, but the money never came. In the end, it became clear that it would never come,” she added.
“That’s when the uncertain times began. Suddenly, they had to start looking for the missing millions in a hurry.”
Ultimately, the 2022 season collapsed with four races to go and it has not re-emerged in 2023.
But Kimilainen says all hope is not yet lost.
“I think a change of ownership is underway,” she said.
“A lot of still unclear, but things are being tried behind the scenes. But these big contracts take time. That’s why I urge everyone to wait in peace.”
She admits, however, that the waiting is difficult at present.
“We are ready to drive as soon as we get some kind of signal about the continuation,” said Kimilainen. “But it’s impossible to say whether we will be able to race this year or next year at the earliest.
“For now we can only wait and see what happens.”