W Series chief welcomes Ferrari's push for female Academy member

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Despite criticism, W Series chief Catherine Bond Muir has welcomed Ferrari's push to add a female member to their Academy roster.

Recently, the Scuderia announced their class of 2020 which included the arrival of Arthur Leclerc, younger brother of current race driver Charles.

A few weeks earlier, team boss Mattia Binotto had confirmed that the Scuderia was hoping to break the male dominance, although this actually drew a rebuke from young German racer Sophia Floersch who considered the move as "marketing" and said women have to show they are "equal".

“Obviously I would hope that driver would come from W Series,” Bond Muir responding, talking to Crash.net.

“I know that Ferrari have come under some flack on social media here but what we all have to remember is that if we cast our minds back to a year ago, there weren’t very many women involved in motorsport at a high level.

“If you look back to the amount of times that you were writing about women in motorsport, it was much, much less than it is now. I think that is what we have to applaud.

“The tide is rising for all women in motorsport and I think what Ferrari are trying to do is to help that tide to rise. I don’t think it is just a marketing plan, I think that they really genuinely want to see if they can get a woman into F1.

“And if they can attract a young superstar and take them through their academy and be the first team to get a driver into F1 then frankly, hats off to them.”

Even so, the struggle for female racing drivers is still clearly proven by what has happened to the first W Series champion Jamie Chadwick since her win, however.

Despite the role as a development driver at Williams and $500k the Briton received, she is only competing in the Asian F3 series in 2020 alongside defending her W Series title.

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Even so, Chadwick does think her chances of a future in F1 have improved.

"It’s a little more realistic than it was a year or two ago," she told The Guardian.

"When you think I want to be a racing driver, you think, I want to race in Formula 1. But you say that, and you never actually think it’s going to happen. It’s still a mad thought, to think that one day it could be possible.

"Even now, immersing myself with Williams, I still have a pinch-me moment but, yeah, it’s the ultimate goal. I’m under no illusions as to how tough it’ll be to get there."

One thing the 21-year-old was keen to stress, like Floersch, though...

"I want to do it on merit. I don’t want to do it because I’m a token female racing driver," Chadwick added.

"I really feel that given the right opportunity and the right support, it is possible, not just for me, but for women, to race competitively in Formula 1. Ultimately, I want to be the one to prove that."