W Series, Iron Dames drivers prepare for Formula 3 test at Magny-Cours

W Series Iron Dames
Andrej Isakovic / Getty Images

Four female drivers, two from the W Series and two from the Iron Dames project, will take part in a Formula 3 test on November 9-10, at Magny-Cours, France.

Magny-Cours hosted the French GP from 1991 through 2008, which gives the drivers an opportunity to test their skill on a world class course.

All four drivers are still teenagers and hope to represent the next wave of diversity in Formula One. The W Series will be represented by 19-year-old Nerea Marti and Irina Sidorkova (18). The Iron Dames project will send Maya Weug (17) and Doriane Pin (17).

Marti and Sidorkova competed as part of the W Series’ Academy and made their debut this year in the female-only championship series that wrapped up their second season at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) last week with Jamie Chadwick crowned as champion. They will test on November 9.

One day later, Weug and Pin will climb behind the wheel.

“This F3 test is part of a larger diversity plan, with the goal to allow more female drivers to join our Championship in the near future,” said F3 CEO Bruno Michel at Formula1.com. “Today, it is still not easy for women to access the FIA single-seater pyramid. We want to help change this.

W Series Iron Dames
Nerea Marti finished third in the W Series Round 4 race at Hungaroring. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

“One key to making this happen is to create links between our Championships and programs that promote women in motorsport. As such, we have decided to offer an F3 test to two drivers from the Iron Dames program which is supported by both the FIA and the Ferrari Driver Academy.”

The Iron Dames project, “is poised to inspire the next generation of women to join the world of motorsport and it is now enjoying its biggest season ever, competing in more championships and with an unprecedent number of drivers,” according to their web site.

Formula One has not had a female driver in competition since Lella Lombardi started 12 races in 1975-1976 and scored two top-10s. Maria Teresa de Filippis made three starts in 1958 and also earned two top-10 finishes.

New initiatives like the W Series and Iron Dame project, with support from FIA, look to change provide a ladder into Formula One.

“Diversity is a very important subject for us,” Michel said. “Our wish is to ensure that more and more female drivers join our championship. We were very pleased to have Tatiana Calderon and Sophia Floersch on our grids, but as it stands, it’s still very hard for female drivers to do the same.

“We hope that this test is the first step towards making the road to Formula One for a female driver more systematic.”

Marti finished fourth in the W Series championship this season with a best finish of third.

Sidorkova finished ninth in the standings with one runner-up finish. She was the youngest series competitor in 2021.

“We also agreed that the W Academy drivers are in the best age-range to eventually join the single-seater pyramid, so we selected them for this test session,” Michel added.

W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir sees the test as proof that their concept is working.

“W Series exists to create a pathway for female racing drivers as they progress into the upper tiers of motorsport,” said Muir. “Today’s announcement that our two youngest drivers, Irina Sidorkova and Nerea Marti, will take part in a full testing day with the FIA Formula 3 Championship, is proof that we are succeeding in that mission.”