W Series Qualifiers: Who are the German, Italian and Swiss racers aiming to make the final 18?

Germany and Italy are 2 of the nations most associated with motorsport powerhouses in Formula One, and so it is no surprise that there are many racers from these countries involved in W Series and hoping to both make it to the 2019 grid, and hopefully in the future to prestigious championships such as F1. Switzerland has also had its fair share of success in the past, and so who are the 4 Italian, 3 German and 2 Swiss drivers hoping to compete in the inaugural season of the W Series?

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Italian racer Carlotta Fedeli has had a passion for engines from a young age. She first started karting competitively in 2007 and continued to progress up the categories until 2010 when she made the transition to cars. In 2011, Carlotta raced in the Italian Production Championship for a season before moving on to the MINI Challenge Italy for the following year. After returning to the series for a second season in 2013, after 4 races Fedeli moved to the Italian SEAT Ibiza Cup. In 2014 and 2015, Carlotta remained in the series with her best championship result coming in 2015 with 5th in the driver standings. In the same year, she contested 2 races in the Italian Touring Endurance Championship, finishing on the podium in both races. 2016 saw Fedeli competing in the SEAT Leon Eurocup and the TCR International Series before going on to race in the Campionato Italian Turismo Championship in 2017. Having raced in several different series, Carlotta’s ability to adapt quickly to different cars will be a huge benefit to her when she takes part in the W Series selection process.

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Angelique Germann was always aware of motorsport with her father having raced for many years. She began single-seater racing seriously in 2014, competing in the Remus F3 Pokal series. As part of her father’s racing team, the German driver finished the season with 4 top-10 finishes in her debut year. In 2015, Angelique returned to the series, matching her best finish of the previous season in 9th. The second half of the year was spent driving in the Central European Zone championship also. The following season, Germann raced in both championships again improving hugely on her previous results. Angelique won her first F3 race in the Remus F3 Pokal series, finishing 5th in the driver standings, whereas in the CEZ Championship she finished 6th in the standings with a best result of 5th. Whilst competing in both series, she also took part in the German F3 Cup where she dominated the field. After winning 7 of the races, she won the championship beating her father in 2nd place and becoming the first woman to win the title. For the 2017 season, she returned to all 3 series. With vast experience of driving formula cars, particularly F3 cars that will be very similar to those used in the W Series, this will surely be great knowledge for Angelique to build on if she makes it to the 2019 grid.

credit: @MichelleHalder

19-year-old Michelle Halder has already had a long career in motorsport. She began karting competitively in 2007 and was extremely successful winning multiple championships before progressing to formula cars in 2015. During her karting career, Michelle won almost 10 championships finishing as the runner-up in multiple others. In 2014, she was admitted to the ADAC Sports Foundation before joining the ADAC Formula 4 Championship a year later. Halder spent 2 years in the championship before going on to race in STT Special Touring Car Championship and despite this being her touring car debut, finished the season with a podium to her name. Last year was another successful year for Michelle as she raced in the ADAC TCR Germany Championship (touring cars). In only her second season racing touring cars, Halder finished 9th overall, 3rd in the Rookie Championship, won 1 race and finished on the podium 3 times. Although more recently she has been driving touring cars, Michelle’s natural flair for racing and previous formula car experience will surely see her well in the series.

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credit: GT4 European Series

Swiss driver Marylin Niederhauser began karting in 2010 after catching the motorsport bug from her family, in particular, her father. The first race of her karting career was in 2013 as she spent 2 years racing before transitioning to car racing. In the 2 seasons she spent in karting, Marylin took part in competitions such as the Swiss Karting Championship (Championnat Suisse de Karting) and Swissauto250 Cup Germany, achieving good results in both. In 2015, Niederhauser made the step up to formula cars as she started racing in the ADAC Formula 4 Championship. After making this transition, Marylin saw her first season in cars as a learning experience, helping her to improve and adapt to a different kind of racing. After spending the 2016 season also in ADAC Formula 4, Niederhauser chose to take her racing in a different direction as she began competing in the GT4 European Series Northern Cup, Silver Cup category in 2017. Racing with fellow W Series qualifier Naomi Schiff, this was another year of gaining experience for Marylin and this proved to be useful in 2018. Last year, she drove in the GT4 Central European Cup – Pro Am category, finishing 2nd in the championship, winning 2 races with 5 podiums. This ability to hugely improve on previous results is a real skill and something that Marylin will need in the selection process for W Series.

credit: @VickyPiria

Vicky Piria began karting at the age of 8 after being introduced to the world of motorsport by one of her younger brothers. The pair started visiting a local track on the outskirts of Milan and despite initial mistakes, racing soon became a passion for Vicky. At the time, she was also involved in competing in equestrian events but decided to focus on motorsport. Beginning in small regional races, Piria soon started working her way up the junior karting categories to national and international competitions such as the Italian Open Masters which she drove in in 2008. In 2009, Vicky made the progression to cars from karts, racing in multiple series. The season saw her driving in series such as the Formula 2000 Light Italy series and Formula Renault 2.0 Italia Championship. The following year, Vicky continued to gain experience racing in the Formula Abarth Italian series which she returned to the season after in 2011, as well as competing in the Formula Abarth European series. In 2012, Piria made the step-up to F1-feeder series GP3 and although she didn’t score any points, had a best finish of 12th after only 3 years of formula racing. For the 2013 season, Vicky took part in the European Open F3 series finishing 10th in the driver standings before going on to compete in the winter series also. Piria took a step into touring cars in 2014 as she raced in the Italian Touring Endurance Championship. Most recently she has competed in the Porsche Carrera Cup Italia. Having raced in GP3, Vicky has a lot of experience in single seater racing, and with only her and British driver Alice Powell having reached this series, could this be a huge advantage for both?

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Swiss racer Sharon Scolari had an interest in motorsport from a young age with her father often competing in races. She first started karting at the age of 11, before going on to train with the Italian Legends Cars Cup Championship. Sharon went on to race in the series from 2011 to 2013, winning the Rookie title in her debut season and finishing 4th in the driver standings. In 2014, Scolari made her debut in the Italian Lotus Cup finishing the season 5th overall. After a year out from racing, Sharon made a return to competing in a Lotus series in 2016, however this time in the Lotus Cup Europe. Despite this being her first year and coming back from a year out, she finished the season as the Vice-Champion achieving multiple podiums and winning the Super Final at Le Mans. The following year, Scolari returned to the series aiming to improve on the previous season, this time taking 9 victories, 6 of which were consecutively. With the title coming down to the last race of the season, an accident meant Scolari finished 2nd in the championship and again making her Vice-champion. Last year, she made her debut in a Formula series entering both the Formula Renault Eurocup and the Formula Renault NEC Championship. Her best result saw her finish 2nd in the NEC Championship, becoming the first woman to finish on the podium in the championship, before finishing the season 4th in the driver standings. After coming back from a year out, Scolari achieved brilliant results showing that she has a lot of resilience and motivation to reach her dream.

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German driver Doreen Seidel began racing competitively in 2011, combining her love of motorsport with her modelling career. After racing in the ADAC Cruze Cup (2011), ADAC Chevrolet Cup (2012) and MINI Trophy (2013), Doreen began driving in the 2014 Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup Germany. After 10 races, she scored 60 points with her best result of 11th coming at the Red Bull Ring. The following season, she competed in the 2015 Audi Sport TT Cup, before turning her attention to GT racing. In 2016, Seidel entered the GT4 European Series – Pro Class achieving good results throughout the season. During this time Doreen has also been a driving instructor, helping those wanting to get into the sport by sharing her motorsport knowledge. Teaching everything from strategy to the ideal racing line, she has also partnered with some of the world’s biggest companies such as Toyota, Porsche and Audi. Seidel has been an instructor so her race craft and knowledge will be very good and a benefit to her in the W Series selection.

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Italian Francesca Linossi began racing at the age of 11, spending much of her childhood working her way up the ranks of Italian karting. Her first kart race was in 2003 and after several years competing, she made the transition to car racing aged 16. After racing in the Italian GT Championship, Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe, International GT Sprint Series and MINI Rushour, Francesca competed in the 2013 MINI Challenge Italy. In her debut season, she finished the year with 1 win, 5 podiums, 1 pole position and 2 fastest laps. In 2014 and 2015, Linossi raced in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, ending her first season in 20th. She vastly improved in her second year, finishing 9th in the driver standings with over double the points she scored in the previous season. The following year saw Francesca race in the Porsche Carrera Cup Italia as well as the Campionato Italiano Gran Turismo series. In 2017, she returned to the Porsche Carrera Cup Italia, which again she improved on, making the podium and finishing the season in 7th place. Last year, Linossi drove in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Final and the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe series, reaching the podium twice in the latter. Although, like many of the others, Francesca does not have a large amount of single-seater experience, she has been racing in some extremely competitive and prestigious series and so understands how to fight for positions and handle herself in tough situations.

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From a young age, it was toy cars that appealed to Alessandra Brena with her often wanting to watch Grands Prix on TV rather than cartoons. At the age of 5 she drove a kart for the first time at a local track, and despite initial reservations, fell in love with being on-track as well as watching from the ‘side-lines’. Her parents quickly saw their daughter’s passion and bought her a kart, from then on, she spent many weekends at races. After moving up the karting ranks in Italy, finishing 4th in the European Championships and 5th in the World, she was crowned Best Italian Girl Karter 4 years in a row. In 2011, she made the transition from karting to cars. Starting in the Formula Abarth European Series much like some of her compatriots, Alessandra began gaining experience in formula cars with her also racing in Campionato Italiano Formula ACI-CSAI Abarth in the same year. This increase in knowledge of strategy in motorsport showed in the following season when Brena turned her attention to driving a Kia Venga in the Green Scout Cup. After 12 races, she finished with 2 wins, 6 podiums and 1 pole position as well as 3rd in the driver standings. In 2013, she drove in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe series, finishing the year 15th in the standings, but had much more success in the Campione Italiano Energie Alternative – BRC Green Hybrid Cup Serie Internazionale, previously the Green Scout Cup. After finishing 3rd in the previous season, Alessandra bettered this result by winning the championship. In the last few years, Brena has competed in series such as the 2014 GT4 European Series and 2016 Clio Cup Italia before racing in the 2017 Campionato Italiano Turismo TCS. Alessandra finished 3rd in the driver standings. Having raced in many series, Alessandra has gained experience and knowledge of how to approach different situations, this is essential for any driver and will stand her in good stead if she it to make it to the inaugural W Series grid.

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