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Pippa Mann: The W Series is ‘a sad day for motorsport’

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This week marked the announcement of the W Series – a free-to-enter series exclusively for female drivers.

The series will provide 18 to 20 identically prepared Tatuus T-318 Formula 3 cars with a prize fund reported at $1.5 million. Their intention is to provide a showcase by bringing female racers together in one series where they will be the focus of the race.

The series boasts contributions by Formula 1 racer David Coulthard, car designer Adrian Newey and team manager Dave Ryan among others.

Not everyone is happy.

“What a sad day for motorsport,” Mann wrote in a tweet the day of the announcement. “Those with funding to help female racers are choosing to segregate them as opposed to supporting them. I am deeply disappointed to see such a historic step backwards take place in my life time.”

It is an opinion she has held for more than a year, when the series was first conceived. Mann described it then as “The Handmaid’s Series”.

And wrote: “Just as the twisted society of Gilead in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is desperate to sell itself as a real solution to the problems of that imagined 21st century, the ring masters of this travesty are desperate to sell themselves as the solution needed to the sponsorship struggles faced by so many female drivers.”

With no physical barriers to racing, the difference between success and failure comes down to funding – according to Mann.

For Mann, diverting funding into a series in which females will not race against the best male counterpoints dilutes finite resources available.

According to the W Series, the success of women in racing also comes down to having a large enough pool of female drivers to allow excellence to rise to the top.

The W Series has announced a six-race schedule in 2019 to run in conjunction with the DTM Series.

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Dan Ticktum wins crash-marred FIA F3 World Cup in Macau

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Overshadowed by a horrific crash involving Sophia Floersch was the fact that 19-year-old Dan Ticktum dominated and won the Macau Grand Prix – a victory that puts him closer to earning the superlicence required to allow him to race with Formula 1, according to Yahoo! Sports.

Ticktum won Macau’s qualification race as well as the Grand Prix, starting first in both events. For his victories, he earned 10 points, which combined with 25 for his runner-up finish in the European F3 Championship leaves him just five below the 40 needed for the license.

This was Ticktum’s second Macau Grand Prix victory.

“It was a dominant performance that I was preparing for,” Ticktum said on his web site. “I don’t think I’ve ever prepared as hard as I did for this race and it all worked out. In the final race a lot of variables were thrown at me but I handled them.”

On his way to victory lane, Ticktum had to survive several restarts including the lengthy red flag period following Floersch’s accident to repair the barrier.

“I can’t count how many safety car restarts we had to do,” Ticktum said. “It puts a lot of pressure on a driver here with such a long run down to the first corner. I can’t remember a weekend when I’ve put it all together so well.

“The car was absolutely perfect all weekend, it was so good and I can’t thank Motopark enough for that. I’ve never been so involved in the set-up, felt so at one with the car as I did this weekend.”