Formula Three

British Formula Three round 3: Brands Hatch

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    @fastiesty Auto GP has mainly survived by keeping itself largely aloof from the rest of the single-seaters. If you’re following this season, you’ll know that the cars this year are very powerful, almost as much as GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5. Yet, in terms of general organisation, it remains far below either of those two series. It’s a fun series, where ex-F1 drivers like Narain Karthikeyan and Christian Klien participate, where older also-rans like Sergio Campana participate, who are never going to make it to F1..only a minority of the drivers are actually young enough to fit into the motorsport ladder, and this year, even those drivers (Vittorio Ghirelli, Riccardo Agostini, Kevin Giovesi, Robert Visoiu) aren’t class acts themselves, just doing a series that might keep them relevant in the junior single-seater scene…some drivers like Quaife-Hobbs and Sirotkin last year, used the series as a quiet alternative to say, GP3, but a perfect springboard to GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5 respectively. This is probably the very reason it survives…it struggles at times (this year, it had only 5 confirmed drivers a week before the season started), but nevertheless, it is there.
    As for FIA F4, talks are there of two such series happening. One in replace the Formula Ford GB championship..and the other in Italy, to replace Formula Abarth. Both championships in their current avatars are struggling to stay afloat, and Gerhard Berger naturally thinks that giving these an FIA affiliation is going to help expand these series. But unfortunately, once these happen, the other series might be neglected…namely BRDC F4, which has help from neither the FIA, nor Renault Sport, and those are the two biggest governing bodies in junior formulae at the moment. It might become another Auto GP (albeit in a different level), or it might go the F2/International Formula Master way too…only time will tell..

    Iestyn Davies

    I didn’t know they were that powerful, but I did know they had some grunt, I’ve seen last year’s last lap at the street track (Marrakech?) where Q-H won and there were lots of slipstream battles. There is a good mix of drivers trying to stay relevant (and boosting their careers as you say with Q-H for less money), and the same with the series itself leads to a good outcome (unlike GP3 where the hard tyres came back and it’s now a procession-fest). There’ll always be a place for a cheaper form of motorsport for those who really have the talent (I’m thinking Kirchhofer who is dominating German F3) to shine.

    I can see the region wide F4 happening, so that the FIA has F3 and F4 to follow with F1 (F2 being totally outdone by GP2/FR3.5/GP3). These series will be kept afloat with the prestige of the FIA backing… while this means that the other series such as BRDC F4 will really have to keep costs low and survive in a similar way to Auto GP (entry level series for those without the dosh to run multiple seasons in expensive series to get used to the car/level, these champions can then move up to the FIA series for a year with a shot to do well immediately). If the FIA ladder works too well (costs are low enough to have overfull grids) then perhaps these lower series will start biting the dust as their niche is eroded.

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