Group B legend Michele Mouton has faced backlash over comments surrounding the W Series.
The Women's Series was called “Limited and discriminating” by the French four time WRC winner in an interview with Le Figaro.
The W Series was propped up by female racers Carmen Jorda, Susie Wolff, Danica Patrick, and Tatiana Calderon as being a safe space for women to earn world titles outside of the main Formula series where they'd otherwise wouldn't have a chance.
Michele Mouton is the head of the FIA's Women in Motorsport Commission (WMC), the wing of the FIA meant to promote female drivers and break the glass ceiling for female drivers in F3, F2, and F1.
Mouton stated: “The best drivers who are already in professional teams of course don't want to race in the W Series, which also explains the limited level of the W Series since the best performers don't participate.
Personally, I believe that as long as they will not be confronted with the competition from male drivers like I experienced when driving for Fiat and Audi in the 70's and 80's, it will be difficult to emerge in Formula 1.
Formula 1 is where the question of being the best female driver is invalid, only if your the best driver in the world.
And for that the road is still long”.
Current W Series title contender Alice Powell hit back at Mouton saying: “I feel Michele Mouton may need to check her facts, getting out driving will help create opportunities.
Some of these female drivers, who are professional drivers, wanted to do the W Series but couldn't due to clashed”.
The CEO of the W Series, Catherine Bond Muir said that she was surprised that a leading pioneer in female Motorsports as prestigious as Michele Mouton would disapprove of the W Series.
She went on to say: “I was sympathetic to a lot of the naysayers to begin with, because I had gone through that process myself and deciding whether I think a women's only racing series was a good idea or not.
So I had myself gone through all those emotions, but because I was involved in the evolution of it, I think a lot of the criticisms were based on one: That we would be patronizing women.
I think we've answered a lot of our critics, Abbie Eaton was a strong critic.
She ended up regretting not joining the W Series”.