Instead, it will be given to young drivers aged 16 and over, and will see a direct feeder series to F3 and then to F2.

Although nothing has been confirmed, it is likely that F4 equipment will be used and the series will be run under the existing F2/F3 organisation, with cars fielded by teams already competing in the existing championship. It is expected that the network will be about 12-15 cars.

There were no firm details from F1, but a spokesman noted: “We are committed to providing greater opportunities for talented female drivers to progress and reach the highest level.”

The W Series has joined F1’s support program in 2021, but the future of the organization remains in doubt after it ran into financial problems and the last two rounds of this season have been cancelledleaving Singapore as the final race.

F1 sources suggest that if the W series survives and returns in 2023, it could run alongside the new initiative as it features faster F3-style cars and older drivers.

Jamie Chadwick hosted by Abby Pulling, Fabien Wohlwend

Photo: Sam Bloxham / Images of motor sports

On Thursday Lewis Hamilton suggested that F1 should do more to encourage female drivers.

“Throughout the life of Formula 1, women in the sport have not been given enough attention,” he said. “There is not enough emphasis on it now. They do not sufficiently magnify the great work that is being done there.

“Our industry is underrepresented in all areas. These young wonderful drivers have no way even to Formula 1.

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“Then you have some people who say, ‘We’ll never see a female F1 driver.’ This is not a very good story. So I think we need to do more.”

He also suggested that F1 could have stepped in and saved the W series: “Thanks to the organisation, with F1 and Liberty doing so well, there was little for them to help in that space.”

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