Formula One is working to create an all-female feeder series, sources told ESPN.
It is hoped the championship will be up and running in time for the start of the 2023 season to provide a clearer path up the existing pyramid of Formula 2 and Formula 3 which lead to F1.
A woman has not raced in Formula One since Lella Lombardi at the 1976 Austrian Grand Prix.
The F1 feeder series aims to have seats for upwards of 15 drivers in its first season. It would have no affiliation with W Series, the all-female championship set up in 2018.
Sources said the new category would be aimed at drivers in their teens and early 20s, with a feeling existing at F1 that many of the women who enter W Series are already too old to have a realistic chance of making F1’s feeder categories or the main championship itself.
The feeder series would work at promoting drivers into F3 and then F2. Teams involved in the series are likely to be ones already involved in those two championships.
W Series has hit financial difficulties this year and was unable to finish the current season. It hopes to resume racing in 2023 although its status remains unclear.
Three-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick, 24, is testing with Andretti’s IndyLights team.
Despite an encouraging junior career, Chadwick has never competed in an F3 or F2 race, and it is believed funding still continues to be an issue for her hopes of doing so in the near future.