Start, Circuit de Catalunya, Formula V8 3.5, 2016

Formula V8 3.5 to close at end of season

2017 F1 season

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The Formula V8 3.5 championship, which many current F1 drivers competed in during their junior years, will close at the end of this season. Series organisers RPM blamed a lack of entries for 2018.

“The continuous and alarming drop in the number of driver entries in the main European single-seater series has forced World Series Formula V8 3.5 to withdraw from the 2018 season racing calendar,” RPM announced.

Kevin Magnussen, Stoffel Vandoorne, Will Stevens, Formula Renault 3.5, Moscow, 2013
Three future F1 drivers on the podium in 2013
The number of drivers taking part has fallen sharply since Renault pulled its backing for the championship, which was previously called Formula Renault 3.5. Just ten are present for the championship’s final event in Bahrain this weekend.

“Starting with the brand-new Formula Nissan in 1998, our commitment and goals went much bigger as Formula Renault 3.5 Series was created in 2005,” they added. “As a result, 25 drivers have reached the pinnacle of motorsport – that is, Formula One – in this era.”

“Since 1998 we have shared our dreams with hundreds of friends, team owners, engineers, mechanics, racing drivers and, above all, with the drivers’ relatives. They have made the careers of all those young talents possible by means of their unlimited sacrifice.”

“RPM’s original idea was helping parents and relatives build driver careers by providing the best possible single-seater at the lowest cost.”

“In the recent years no other series nor championship in any continent has been able to match the unbeatable cost/performance ratio of World Series Formula V8 3.5.”

“Unfortunately, neither World Series Formula V8 3.5 nor any other top single-seater series in the world have reached the ideal number of participating drivers in 2017.”

The series is run by Jaime Alguersuari Snr, father of former F1 driver Jaime Alguersuari.

Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Esteban Ocon, Carlos Sainz Jnr, Kevin Magnussen, Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne, Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley are among those who graduated from the championship.

Five drivers are in contention for the final Formula V8 3.5 title in Bahrain: Pietro Fittipaldi, Matevos Isaakyan, Alfonso Celis, Rene Binder and Roy Nissany. Egor Orudzhev, who is also mathematically in contention, is absent due to illness.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 37 comments on “Formula V8 3.5 to close at end of season”

    1. Sad news. I’ve been lucky enough to commentate on the championship for the past six seasons. It’s produced incredible racing and schooled a generation of top F1 talents. But the writing was on the wall after Renault pulled its backing and the FIA introduced the superlicence points system. It was only ever going to go one way from there, and I think the series organisers have been sensible to draw a line now, with grid numbers as low as they are, rather than attempt to stagger on or another year.

      For those of you in the UK I’ll be calling the final races live on BT Sport this weekend from 2:45pm today (BT Sport 2) and 10am tomorrow (BT Sport 3, preceded by highlights of race one).

    2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      17th November 2017, 9:01

      Next article: FIA abandons points licence system

      1. @fullcoursecaution Indeed. Mission accomplished.

        1. Could we have an article on exactly what you mean by that? It sounds very interesting and I would like to be aware of these types of business/political shenanigens.

          1. …and how it will affect junior categories from henceforth.

          2. FIA used the revised licensing rules to promote F2/GP3 by giving them a higher weighting in superlicense terms than other fringe series, i.e. FR3.5.

            I doubt they can abandon the points system fully as it still gives a reasonable measure of competency, and there are other factors involved besides which series you compete for, i.e. minimum age etc. but it was definitely aimed at giving the FIA an even greater piece of their increasingly autocratic pie.

          3. I think if you look at the first comment here from keith @shimks, It is pretty obvious. The moment the FIA brought in the points system, giving this series significantly lower points than could be had in then GP2 (or F2), the intention was clear.

            Up until then the field of Renault 3,5 had been more competative and of as high or probably higher quality than the GP2 field (and the F2 field when it ran), with Red Bull juniors being tested here rather than in the “official” feeder series amongs many others.

            1. @ho3n3r @bascb Fascinating; and terrible.

        2. @fullcoursecaution @keithcollantine
          It really was that transparent. I’m glad someone else has pointed this out as I was beginning to think I was suffering from some sort of paranoia. If ever there was evidence that the FIA needs investigated for abusing its monopoly, here it is.
          Really sad news though since this category and it feeder series produced great rwacing in great race cars at (mostly) great race tracks….

          1. Again :( The FIA has already been investigated once for abuse of its monopoly (back in the late 1990s) and there’s already an impending investigation from Force India and Sauber (regarding conflicts of interest in F1). The stated goal of clarifying the path to F1 hasn’t really happened; it just means that instead of some people coming through Renault 3.5, they now come through WEC – not a particularly logical path for a single-seater series – and cobbling together points from midfield positions in F3/GP3/GP2. It hasn’t met it stated purpose, it’s just made things more expensive for drivers and less tenable for anyone who isn’t a series organiser for F2 or GP3. Remind me, who are these people?

        3. I still don’t believe what the FIA has done is legal. Sadly, nobody (with the big money) has challenged them on it

    3. Well, it was a pleasure having them on the support bill in the WEC. Real shame.

    4. So FiA has successfully eliminated competition, in a most blatant display of conflict of interest.
      Series which rivaled GP2 have been reduced to nothing, via the licence points system, when FiA, without any justification, degraded it by awarding it just a handful of points compared to GP2.

    5. Thanks, fia!

      Shame, i am following their official youtube channel and most of the videos are under 200 views, tells you something about lack of interest.

    6. So next year, what will be largest-engined, open wheel racing series? Will it be IndyCar at 2.2 litres?

      1. I think F2 and GP3, they have 3.4 L engines

        1. F2 and GP3 both use a 3.4L turbocharged V6. Super Formula uses a 2.0L turbocharged I4.

          Size isn’t everything though.

          1. @geemac I hadn’t realised that F2 and GP3 were so large, so I looked up GP2 and read that they use normally-aspirated 4.0 L V8’s, which I think makes them the largest of all.
            Somewhere at the back of my mind I remember reading about a proposal for a single-seater class in Australia using 5 litre engines . . . I think it was to use the Supercar V8 engines once they move to smaller, turbo V6’s in 2019. Maybe I was dreaming.

            1. So to clarify, the new 3.4 V6 turbo is coming in next season, they currently use the 4.0L V8.

            2. Formula Thunder 5000

              They have a Facebook page with recent demo videos. Their cars are very loud, but it’s not a particularly interesting sound and looks a little out of place to me. the noise is bigger and a lot more aggressive than the cars look. Almost feels like it’s been doubed over the top. I can imagine the noise dominating the senses too much on street circuits to be able to enjoy the actual racing.

            3. @nickwyatt, that is the old specification GP2 engine though – they will be introducing an updated chassis in 2018, and it has been confirmed that the engine in the new car will be based on the 3.4L turbocharged engine in the current GP3 cars.

              Since you mention it, there are two different rival proposals in Australia that would use 5.0L V8 engines. The first is called the Formula Thunder 5000 series, which would be a standard specification series and uses a modified version of an old Formula Nippon chassis, and is spearheaded by Chris Lambden, a former touring car driver. https://www.motorsport.com/openwheel/news/new-australian-formula-5000-series-launches-683105/

              Now, there had been an alternative proposal from the Supercar series which would have used their engines, as well as the transmission and a few other components, which would have acted as a support series to the Supercar series. Whilst the organisers of the Supercar series decided against the idea, it seems that an unnamed private party has continued to develop that proposal – something that has not gone down well with Chris Lambden, who accused them of copying his idea. https://www.motorsport.com/openwheel/news/formula-thunder-5000-boss-slams-copycat-supercars-series-902048/

              Neither series has actually launched yet though, and are still just concepts. I believe that a prototype FT 5000 car has taken part in a few public demonstration runs to gauge public interest and to see whether there would be enough parties and circuits interested for the series to be viable – the rival based on the Supercars engine, meanwhile, is still at the conceptual stage, having only been proposed about 6 months ago.

              Both series are trying to cash in on the nostalgia value of the original Formula 5000 series from the 1960’s and 1970’s – however, at the moment it would be just a regional series, and the economics are debatable given that a number of national motorsport series in Australia have had to shut down over the years due to a lack of funding.

            4. Thank you @geemac, BigJoe and Anon for the information. Let’s see how things develop in Oz – as long as it doesn’t affect the excellent Supercar series, I don’t mind!

    7. FlyingLobster27
      17th November 2017, 12:22

      There’s the FIA’s Superlicence system, but I was also doubly dubious over FV8’s alliance with the WEC when it was announced.
      First: costs. Supporting the WEC meant becoming an intercontinental series, whereas FR3.5 was a continental, Europe-based series. That’s a big change, and such a long championship, travelling the world with little return for drivers in terms of F1 perspectives couldn’t have held up for long. Had it supported the ELMS in the second half of the season, things could have been more reasonable.
      Second: the WEC perspectives. I didn’t believe one second that a factory team in P1 or GTE-Pro would pick up an FV8 champion, so that means joining P2 or GTE-Am. The P2 route is most likely, but, as a young driver, you might as well join P2 immediately, while you’re rated Silver.

      The return of privateer P1s next year could have brightened things up, but the scarcity of the 2018 WEC calendar would have made it hard for FV8 to be a support class. It would have had to become its own thing again, which, with low car counts and -let’s be honest- second-rate juniors, would have been tricky.
      Like I said, drivers in FV8 would probably have done better to look for a P2 seat in ELMS. And actually, SMP Racing have run Orudzhev and Isaakyan in the ELMS, with success…

      1. It could have taken the idea you had for 2017: partnered with both WEC and ELMS, to be a continental series that happened to also be an undercard for the European WEC rounds. The non-European rounds could have hosted other continental series as undercards – difficult in the USA, where the continental series tend to expect to be headliner events in and of themselves, but achievable everywhere else WEC races.

    8. Ended because lack of teams and drivers. Pay attention, it could affect many series.. the main reason it’s always the same: no money no party..

    9. What do they mean not enough drivers. I’m sure there are millions of people out there, including myself, that would LOVE to race a single seater championship!!!!!

      1. If you read the motorsport magazines and papers, in the ads they have ‘Drivers wanted’. I remember in my younger days getting quite excited it would be as easy as going for an interview and hopefully showing off some skills. In reality, the ads should read ‘mega money needed’ *accompanied by a competent driver.
        The majority of teams are funded by their drivers. The best job in the world has got to be a Team Owner/Driver and be funded by the 2nd driver.

        There’s currently a ‘Driver wanted’ ad on Karting magazine’s website, if anyone wants to start on the road to F1 :)

    10. Pietro Fittipaldi finished second and already won the championship, and now he also have enough super license points for F1. It’s probable that he will be in F2 next year.

      1. Finished second to Henrique Chaves that was doing his first race at the series!

    11. @nickwyatt @jake
      And, is there a way that I can watch these series on television?
      Yes you say? Pay Rupert Murdoch you say?
      Grrr

      1. YouTube is your friend, as long as you don’t mind waiting a bit. Also try http://racing4everyone.eu/ and http://racevideoindex.com

    12. That’s a big shame. Some years ago, I enjoyed watching a really competitve series with promising drivers, lots of downforce and good racing. It was usually on on the weeekends that F1 wasn’t. Seeing the likes of Ricciardo, Vergne, Bianchi, Bird and others mature and show they’re ready for F1 was good to watch.

      In 2013, I went to my first ever motor race – World Series by Renault at the Red Bull Ring. I enjoyed watching Stoffel Vandoorne, Kevin Magnussen, Antonio Felix da Costa, knowing that they were bound to get into F1.

      It’s the right call that 3.5 is gone as it’s lately no longer been at the level it had been around 2012. But it’s sad to see a series that not long ago arguably had more quality than GP2 gone.

    13. Definitely sad news. Was that the only single seat series still using screaming V8s?

      All of the videos that found on Youtube didn’t have any commentating. Great for hearing the cars but not so for trying follow what was going on. Also, I couldn’t find any videos that had your commentating, Keith. I’d love to hear it. Any links that you can provide?

    14. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      18th November 2017, 5:05

      To be honest i’m glad it’s closing. The whole World Series by Renault thing has been an absolute flop. Tiny grids, minimal promotion and empty grandstands. The loss they’re operating at must be substantial.

      1. @tophercheese21 what are you talking about? When it was part of the World Series it was a very successful series getting up to 13 teams participating.
        I believe that you are confusing the last 2 years, where it was only organised by RPM and was renamed Formula V8 3.5

    15. All this is very sad, the FIA is bending its line …

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