The Search for the Next Female F1 Driver Continues with Two F4 U.S. Alumni in the Running

Sabre Cook and Hanna Zellers selected as W Series finalists

After being selected as finalists from more than 100 candidates, Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda alumni Sabre Cook and Hanna Zellers will travel to Austria next week for the final round of evaluations for the inaugural W Series, an all-female driver competition launched last October to promote and provide a stepping stone to Formula 1 in effort to overcome motorsport’s gender gap.

The pair will vie against 53 other notable female drivers from around the world in a three-day on-and-off-track trial including fitness tests and psychometric profiling, as well as multiple driving skill tests and media appearances. Former F1 stars David Coulthard and Alex Wurz will be among the judges, alongside W Series Racing Director Dave Ryan.

The final grid will be made up of 18-20 women and the inaugural season will consist of six rounds, commencing in May at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg circuit in Germany.

“I’m very honored to be selected as one of the 55 finalists to compete for one the 18 grid spots in the W Series,” said Cook. “There are many talented drivers that are being considered and I know the competition will be tough. Regardless of the outcome, I’m grateful for the opportunity the W Series is providing for so many women.”

Similar to F4 U.S., the W Series will be a spec championship, running the same Formula 3 chassis equipped with the Halo, a 270 HP engine and Hankook tires, however, the cars are all owned by the series rather than individual teams. Maintenance, repair and setup adjustments will be the responsibility of technicians hired by the organizers, and every car will burn the same fuel and be greased with the same oil in an effort to eliminate mechanical inequalities as well as cheating.

The entire race season for all the drivers, including accommodations and travel, will be paid for by the W Series.  Not only will the W Series be a free-to-enter competition, but a total prize fund of $1,500,000 will be awarded, with the overall series winner taking $500,000 to advance her racing career.

“Never before has there been an opportunity to spotlight global female racing talent like this. The idea that this series is looking at and promoting female talent to the pinnacle of racing, is something quite spectacular,” said Zellers. ”With the series being fully funded it means an equitable opportunity for talented females who may not have the funding behind them to showcase their skills. I commend the W Series for being innovative in spotlighting and promoting female racers to go on to compete on the universal, combined stage of racing. I am very thankful to be selected to showcase my ability in the W Series.”

Cook added, “As a driver who struggles with funding, the support the W Series is offering is life and career changing.”

Since the inception of Formula 1, more than 900 drivers have competed in the championship, only two of whom have been female. It’s been a staggering 43 years since the last female entered an official F1 race.  

Fans can follow Cook and Zellers’ progress through social media at:

 

Sabre Cook- @SabreCook

Hanna Zellers- @HannaZellers

Photo Credit- Gavin Baker Photography

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