All-female W Series will be showcased at eight Formula One race weekends in 2021 season

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PARIS — The all-female W Series will be showcased at eight Formula One race weekends next season in a push for greater diversity in motorsports, organizers said Thursday.

It has yet to be decided at which of the record 23 F1 races the W Series also will be held.

“We believe it is incredibly important to give everyone the chance to reach the highest levels of our sport,” F1 managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn said. “Their partnership with Formula 1 next season shows our determination and commitment to showcase their exciting series and the importance of building greater diversity.”

LONGEST YEAR: Formula One will expand to a record 23 races in 2021

British driver Jamie Chadwick won the inaugural W Series race in Hockenheim, Germany, last year. This season was canceled because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Our global reach, impact and influence will be increased significantly,” W Series CE0 Catherine Bond Muir said. “We want W Series to entertain, and entertain it will. But we also want it to become a crucial default-option stepping stone for any female racing driver who wants to carve out a professional racing career.”

Here’s the release from the W Series:

W Series is pleased to announce the first details of its 2021 on-track racing season, in partnership with Formula 1.

The 2021 W Series calendar will include eight Formula 1 support races. The precise locations and dates of the rounds will be announced in due course.

Catherine Bond Muir, W Series Chief Executive Officer: “After such a successful inaugural season [2019], we at W Series are absolutely delighted to be partnering with Formula 1 for 2021 and beyond.

“Formula 1 is by some margin the world’s premier motor racing series, and, when we promised that W Series would be bigger and better in the future, partnering with Formula 1 was always our ultimate objective. There is no doubt that, now that W Series will be run alongside and in collaboration with Formula 1, our global reach, impact and influence will be increased significantly.

“Everything that made W Series so popular and successful in 2019 will remain. The cars will be identical, the racing will be close and competitive, and our mission will always be to further the interests and prospects of female racing drivers. We want W Series to entertain, and entertain it will. But we also want it to become a crucial default-option stepping stone for any female racing driver who wants to carve out a professional racing career, and our proximity to Formula 1 will help and enhance that process. The fact that W Series is now eligible for FIA Super Licence points will also be an important factor in that regard.

“We are very grateful to Chase Carey, Ross Brawn and their colleagues for having faith in W Series, and for prioritising diversity and inclusion in this way, and we intend to help them drive forwards their excellent #WeRaceAsOne programme this year and in years to come.”

Ross Brawn, Managing Director of Motorsport, Formula 1: “We are excited to announce our 2021 season this week and look forward to a thrilling season with an exciting mix of new races and established circuits that we missed during our unprecedented 2020 season.

“It is a really important moment for us to welcome W Series as partners for eight races this season. They have been a beacon to many since they began racing in 2019. We believe it is incredibly important to give everyone the chance to reach the highest levels of our sport and their partnership with Formula 1 next season shows our determination and commitment to showcase their exciting series and the importance of building greater diversity across the sport.”

Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list; Musquin remains out

Shimoda injured
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Bad news continues to come out of the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team as they announced Jo Shimoda injured his shoulder in a practice session and will not mount up when the Monster Energy Supercross 250 East division opens in Houston, Texas on February 4. A timetable has not been given for Shimoda’s return, but a press release from the team references multiple weeks.

“I’m doing my best to focus forward on my return to racing,” said Shimoda in the release. “Our goal was to compete for the 250 Supercross Eastern Regional Championship and I know we had been doing the right work to make that happen. Unfortunately, this crash will cause me to miss the start of the season, but I still aim to be back on the track racing for wins before the end of Supercross.”

Shimoda is joined on the sidelines by teammates Seth Hammaker and Austin Forkner, who also suffered injuries in recent weeks.

The news of Hammaker’s sidelining came just two days ago. His wrist injury is sufficient to require surgery, so he too will miss multiple weeks. Hammaker was scheduled to compete in the 250 East division alongside Shimoda.

Forkner was involved in a Lap 1 crash in the 250 West season opener at Anaheim. Multiple injuries, including an ACL tear, will sideline him for the remainder of the season. He described the injury and its aftermath on Instagram.

Forkner will be relieved by Carson Mumford, but not before that rider’s wrist has healed sufficiently. He is scheduled to debut with Kawasaki in Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 Supercross race on February 18.

Shimoda finished fourth in the 2022 Supercross 250 West division and was second in 2021 points in 250 East. In 2021, Shimoda won his first Supercross race at Salt Lake City. Last year, he scored one podium and six top-fives in nine starts.

Shimoda finished second in last year’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, where he added two more SuperMotocross wins including the Unadilla Nationals that kicked off a four-race streak of first- or second-place results.

Kawasaki is not the only team facing injury. Red Bull KTM initially reported Marvin Musquin would be out for the San Diego round with a wrist injury and “maybe more”. This week it was announced he will miss this week’s Triple Crown race in Anaheim and “at least the next several rounds.”