More likely we’re just seeing the same thing we see everywhere else: a cohort of men frightened silly that they’re be shown up for what they really are, and fighting hard to preserve their boyish little fantasies.
The W series looks like the motor sport equivalent of affirmative action, and I have mixed thoughts about this idea. I believe in a meritocracy, and I can see the potential pitfalls of appointing less talented people to roles simply because a set of rules says we should. We run the risk of senior positions being filled with sub optimal talent.
On the other hand, a meritocracy can only work where there aren’t unfair and artificial hurdles placed in front of half the population, which is the situation we’re facing right now. A close friend of mine, who is very successful in a male-dominated corporate environment, is the last person I’d expect to favor quotas, but she does, and her reasoning is simple: force organisations to appoint (appropriately talented) women to senior positions, until those organisations wake up to themselves and figure out the benefits they reap from having females in meaningful senior positions.
Those benefits will more often than not include better decision-making, better workplaces, and – critically – the embedding of female role models who younger women will seek to emulate. When there’s a deep pool of unquestionably qualified women competing for all positions in all organisations, there won’t be a need for quotas anymore and they can be removed.