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British Formula Three in trouble


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#1 midgrid

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 19:28

Following the cancellation of the British Formula Renault 2.0 series last year (and its eventual definitive abandonment), there's more bad news for single-seater racing in the UK, as this year's British F3 schedule has been reduced from ten to four rounds, only two of which will take place in Britain.

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#2 SonnyViceR

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 19:33

Ouch :well:

Big loss for Pau GP too.

Edited by SonnyViceR, 28 January 2013 - 19:34.


#3 fer312t

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 19:41

Shame such a great series - with perfect cars, and a great schedule - should be struggling against the glut uninteresting spec formulas running tepid track lineups.
Funny, I thought in recent years, the balance had begun to shift back towards the British series rather than the Euro...


#4 wewantourdarbyback

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 19:46

It was very strong, but it seems a lot of political stuff has gone on in the background pushing everyone towards the pan-european series.


Not only very sad for such a great series but worrying for the British ladder as well, there's some gap where FRenault and F3 were.

#5 f1fan1998

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 19:47

And the common ground with the failure of Formula Renault and also British F3?

SRO.

They are the worst promoter I have ever had the mis-pleasure to deal with. The only reason that British GT is in a boom phase is because they have literally lucked into a cost effective formula of GT3 cars. Before this current phase of GT3 cars, they (SRO) very nearly killed BGT too.

They are hopeless and that is being kind.

#6 f1fan1998

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 19:48

A further point....

Why is 50% of the BRITISH championship abroad? 45% of the original calendar was too. Why? Why not just stay in the UK and bring back what made it a brilliant series once upon a yonder.

#7 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 19:49

Because dads want their kids racing on F1 tracks. Because that will make all the difference.

I'd personally rather try Thruxton.

#8 HistoryFan

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 19:58

I think one very good F3 series is enough (European F3), plus the GP3 series. I think it's logical that British F3 will withdraw.

#9 Risil

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 20:00

Logical? Shit, more like. First racing event I ever attended was a British F3 meet in 1995. I found them so loud I had to hide indoors.

Edited by Risil, 28 January 2013 - 20:00.


#10 rhukkas

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 20:00

Less money sloshing about in the UK to make up the numbers. You gotta be spending BIG day one in this sport. get used to it.

#11 SonnyViceR

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 20:01

SRO.
--
They are hopeless and that is being kind.


Cannot really disagree...

#12 wj_gibson

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 20:17

For whatever reason single seated motorsport is becoming less and less sustainable financially by the day.

#13 SonnyViceR

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 20:22

For whatever reason single seated motorsport is becoming less and less sustainable financially by the day.


Probably because there are 200,000 of these sterile series running nearly identical spec cars in a ladder system that doesn't resemble a ladder, but more of a maze.

I don't normally really give a damn about these junior series but BF3 had great concept, heritage and history. Shame really.

#14 Fastcake

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 20:25

I think one very good F3 series is enough (European F3), plus the GP3 series. I think it's logical that British F3 will withdraw.


You really need something in between F3 Euro/GP3 and junior single seaters. That is, if any Formula Renault series actually still exist nowadays, and rich kids don't just buy in at a higher level.

#15 chrisblades85

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 21:31

This is a sad day for British Motorsport. But no surprise when the market is flooded lower formulae.

Proof that GP3 wasn't needed.

#16 V8 Fireworks

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 21:42

This is a sad day for British Motorsport. But no surprise when the market is flooded lower formulae.

Why don't they persist running old-generation (used to be called the championship or trophy class or something) only?

Be they old gen F3 cars from abroad, or total repackage with the old-gen GP3 cars when they become available. I've heard that these cars are a lot cheaper.


#17 V8 Fireworks

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 21:44

Proof that GP3 wasn't needed.

Surely the responsible is on BF3 to kill of the new fangled upstarts (e.g., series champion gets drive with Marussia F1 team :p ) , and not allow the opposite to happen. :)

#18 jonfev

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 22:25

I'm gutted that I won't see F3 at Snetterton this year but this is symptomatic of UK motorsport at National and International level taking some real hits. Last year we lost the Renault day at Silverstone and just had the World Series cars supporting the WEC, this year no Renault 3.5 at all, the WTCC is absent from the UK and we've lost Formula Renault (so the BTCC support is even more bland). It seems to me the only real chance we will have to spot future GP stars this year will be at the GP support races.

#19 DanardiF1

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 23:46

Why don't they persist running old-generation (used to be called the championship or trophy class or something) only?

Be they old gen F3 cars from abroad, or total repackage with the old-gen GP3 cars when they become available. I've heard that these cars are a lot cheaper.


This.

This is what the German, Spanish and any number of other national F3 series do. Run the older, cheaper cars for drivers with smaller budgets. Keep all the races in the UK and try and get on the TOCA bill, because the tv coverage alone from BTCC Sundays is enough to warrant spending what is still a sizeable sum on a fairly high-tech car and championship.

It makes perfect sense for the big teams in the UK like Carlin etc. to look towards the pan-European series, because that's where they'll attract the better and more budgeted drivers. They have to for the expansion of their own team, and that leaves a gap for the smaller outfits to buy up the older cars and go compete at their more natural level of the national series.

Edited by DanardiF1, 28 January 2013 - 23:48.


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#20 Risil

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 23:53

This is what the German, Spanish and any number of other national F3 series do. Run the older, cheaper cars for drivers with smaller budgets. Keep all the races in the UK and try and get on the TOCA bill, because the tv coverage alone from BTCC Sundays is enough to warrant spending what is still a sizeable sum on a fairly high-tech car and championship.


Seem to remember an interview with the head of British F3 a few years ago, saying that the offer had always been there to race with Alan Gow's series, but -- and rather snooty his tone was too -- they preferred the international calendar and higher billing they got with SRO. Whatever the advantages of that strategy then, they seem to be exhausted now.

Edited by Risil, 28 January 2013 - 23:54.


#21 DanardiF1

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 00:00

Seem to remember an interview with the head of British F3 a few years ago, saying that the offer had always been there to race with Alan Gow's series, but -- and rather snooty his tone was too -- they preferred the international calendar and higher billing they got with SRO. Whatever the advantages of that strategy then, they seem to be exhausted now.


That's a shame then. It would be fantastic if the two most 'prestigious' national racing championships we have here in the UK, the BTCC and BF3, were on the same calendar. The BTCC has even shown that you don't have to follow other national trends to create a great domestic series in the NGTC regs package. British F3 could look at that and see that running older cars, perhaps with allowances for more power as per F3 Sudam, could create an attractive package for aspiring youngsters AND perhaps older hands who want to run fast single seaters in a domestic championship...

#22 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 00:03

I think it'd be interesting to have a European championship of like 6 weekends. And then each national championship has another 6, non-clashing weekends. So everyone would run 12. Euro and their home market. Or if you want to do triple headers domestically, 4 weekends.

It wasn't that long ago that an F3 season was like 16 races, so having 12 actually isn't that bad, if it ran aside a European.



#23 DanardiF1

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 00:06

So it'd run like...

Weekend 1 - European Round 1 (Invitational entries also come from UK, Germany, Spain etc.)

Weekend 2 - National rounds (UK, Germany etc. all racing at home in their own series)

Weekend 3 - Euro Round 2 (Invitational entries included)

And so on...?

If so, sounds good to me.

#24 billm99uk

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 00:10

Because dads want their kids racing on F1 tracks. Because that will make all the difference.


Will it? Is a few extra laps in an underpowered F3 car going to make a blind bit of difference in the long run? Particularly since you'll be running a couple of years in GP2 at the same tracks if you're going to get to F1 anyway.

#25 DanardiF1

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 00:13

Will it? Is a few extra laps in an underpowered F3 car going to make a blind bit of difference in the long run? Particularly since you'll be running a couple of years in GP2 at the same tracks if you're going to get to F1 anyway.


He's being ironic, for exactly the reasons you state...

#26 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 00:13

*shrug*

They seem to think so, just like they think being part of the BTCC schedule would be a bad idea. Even though F3 Euro seemed to live quite happily with DTM.



#27 DanardiF1

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 00:23

*shrug*

They seem to think so, just like they think being part of the BTCC schedule would be a bad idea. Even though F3 Euro seemed to live quite happily with DTM.


But DTM's a lot more 'sophisticated' than that rabble who race in BTCC Ross... I mean, the DTM cars have aero(!) and the drivers get paid by the big German carmakers.

That's the real reason the dad's didn't mind paying for their kids to race in Euro F3 when it supported DTM, because they were hoping that their kids would get picked up (Di Resta'd as I call it) by Audi or Merc (or even BMW now) and they wouldn't have to pay any longer...

#28 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 00:27

Hah, as if. The majority of them aren't even considering DTM. They're on their way to F1 after all.

#29 Fastcake

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:04

I think it'd be interesting to have a European championship of like 6 weekends. And then each national championship has another 6, non-clashing weekends. So everyone would run 12. Euro and their home market. Or if you want to do triple headers domestically, 4 weekends.

It wasn't that long ago that an F3 season was like 16 races, so having 12 actually isn't that bad, if it ran aside a European.


I think that's quite a good idea. It would help to keep healthy grids, at least for the European races, as well as giving the championships a bit more exposure than whatever they currently get now. Hopefully it could also be relatively cheaper, you would think sharing half the races would help, though being held across Europe would add some travelling costs.

British F3 have got to be kicking themselves for not following BTCC though. While it wouldn't of prevented all their problems, FRenault still went under after all, being part of a support package that had full coverage on ITV and healthy attendance figures should of been obvious. Instead they were promoted by SRO, who would be better of moving into the liquidation business.

#30 billm99uk

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:44

So what's the budget for Euro F3 vs. British F3 these days? If the British series is so relatively expensive where's the big cost element - Current gen of cars? No. of races? Foreign races? Size of teams? Spare parts? Circuit fees?

#31 depailler on tyrrell p34

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 13:13

the italian f3 is died also..no race.
f3 was considering the right way to f1 some years ago...

#32 lympog

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 18:41

So what's the budget for Euro F3 vs. British F3 these days? If the British series is so relatively expensive where's the big cost element - Current gen of cars? No. of races? Foreign races? Size of teams? Spare parts? Circuit fees?



British F3? Could be talking the guts of £650k-750k for a decent-top team.

Edited by lympog, 29 January 2013 - 18:43.


#33 ezequiel

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 20:20

What about the F4 BRDC, isn't it in a similar level than FR 2.0?

#34 lympog

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 20:33

What about the F4 BRDC, isn't it in a similar level than FR 2.0?


Pretty much identical, as is the renewed Formula Ford GB category.

#35 pingu666

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 21:23

f3 is non spec remmber, even if everyone runs bloody dallara's, they do get some custom updates. so more expensive on that side i guess, but there is value there.

and yeah spare parts are always £lol


#36 V8 Fireworks

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 01:47

and yeah spare parts are always £lol

:lol:

The BTCC package sounds to be good value and where the eyeballs are.

#37 LuckyStrike1

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 07:32

This is a sad day for British Motorsport. But no surprise when the market is flooded lower formulae.

Proof that GP3 wasn't needed.



Apparently it was needed since it seems teams and drivers rather driver there than in a national F3-series ;)

#38 blackhand2010

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 08:45

Genuine question:
The argument for F3 and other non-spec formulas is that the driver learns more about the set up and engineering side than those in spec championships. However, given the use of simulators and such these days, does that still hold true? And even if it does, does it actually impact on drivers and teams as they move up the formula ladder (such that it is)?

#39 HaydenFan

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 14:21

Genuine question:
The argument for F3 and other non-spec formulas is that the driver learns more about the set up and engineering side than those in spec championships. However, given the use of simulators and such these days, does that still hold true? And even if it does, does it actually impact on drivers and teams as they move up the formula ladder (such that it is)?


I honestly think that most of the guys in F1, IndyCar, at the tippy top levels of motorsport have absolutely little idea about car set-up. With the levels of telemetry in even the lowest of levels, a driver just needs to have a little bit of communication skills for the engineers to apply what the drivers want.

Even then, it's not like you hear a driver saying, "We need to adjust the shocks 1 click." It's more along the lines, "I need more/less wing!" You think Lewis or Vettel, or even the older guys could set up their cars? Not a chance.

Hence why I feel we have seen the spec series flourish as much as they have. While costs to run the car are down in the spec series, it does not mean the budgets are necessarily down. Those funds are spent less on motors and chassis components and spent on engineers, spent on time on shaker rigs and telemetry systems.

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#40 Fondmetal

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 22:38

I honestly think that most of the guys in F1, IndyCar, at the tippy top levels of motorsport have absolutely little idea about car set-up. With the levels of telemetry in even the lowest of levels, a driver just needs to have a little bit of communication skills for the engineers to apply what the drivers want.

Even then, it's not like you hear a driver saying, "We need to adjust the shocks 1 click." It's more along the lines, "I need more/less wing!" You think Lewis or Vettel, or even the older guys could set up their cars? Not a chance.

Hence why I feel we have seen the spec series flourish as much as they have. While costs to run the car are down in the spec series, it does not mean the budgets are necessarily down. Those funds are spent less on motors and chassis components and spent on engineers, spent on time on shaker rigs and telemetry systems.


British F3 is a mess! You could see this happening, the way in which Carlin came in many years ago and pushed F3 to a new level of costs and technology with wind tunnel developing aero bits spending millions for less that .5 second gain over std factory kit.

If European F3 open can run the new spec Dallaras for 300-350k, then it should be possible for British F3 also, 700-800k is just madness in the world we live today!

#41 redreni

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 22:44

I'm probably the only British person here who feels like this, but I was more upset by the demise of F2 than by the near demise of Britih F3. Despite its lack of character and history, the concept of F2 for me was exactly correct. You want the single seater ladder to identify the most talented and fastest drivers. By costing a fraction of what GP3 or F3 would cost, and by ensuring parity for the enire grid, F2 was much better at achieving that aim. If you require entrants to cough up £700K before they start, you'll probably eliminate the best and fastest driver from contention before you begin.

What does concern me about this is Pau, as I had planned on attending the Pau GP this year. I'm not up for it if it's only going to consist of a 2 litre supertouring race featuring Sebastian Loeb, Jaques Villeneuve and Yvan Muller (if he's not busy).

What chance of Pau enticing European F3 Open away from its scheduled race meeting at Algarve? Pau would be a prestigious addition to the European F3 Open calendar to say the least. Or maybe Formula Renault 3.5 would consider adding a feature-length single-header "Grand Prix" event at Pau to its calendar, falling as it would one week ahead of the only single-header event currently on their schedule; the F1 support at Monaco?

#42 TimRTC

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 14:15

More bad news for the British series - http://www.autosport...t.php/id/108831 - Spa round is going to attract only a small grid, most of the European F3 entrants are not interested (and really, why should they be, considering that the series will not really grant them any different experience), although the Brands entry is likely to be a little better, hoping to attract more drivers from the MSV F3 Cup.

No word yet on plans for 2014, but I think there will have to be changes - no point continuing with overseas rounds if there are few entrants - it devalues the competition and makes it even less worth entering. I think the main options would be either:

- Run a single event on a single weekend, like the Macau GP or the Zandvoort Masters. Both of these attract good entry lists (this month's Masters of F3 had a 28 car grid) because they are one-off events and so look good on a CV for an overall win. Not exactly the best way to develop a series, but instead it will keep the name and title lineage alive so that if in future the FIA European series declines, it could become more expansive again. If opened up to multiple classes (as the British F3 is at the moment), should be able to ensure a very large grid.

- Combine the British F3 Championship with MSV's F3 cup. This series (official website) runs on a selection of British circuits as well as an overseas round (Zolder this year) with machinery from 2007 and before. It is quite a mixed series with a split of young progressing drivers and older privateers. The F3 championship could be combined completely, pitching the series as the premier domestic open-wheeler category for upcoming drivers (fitting in with Gerhard Berger's designs for domestic F3 competition), or could be run at a selection of rounds, with the more modern Dallara machinery running on the same grid as the older Cup/Trophy cars. Again it would be something of a step back for the series, but retains the name and ethos better than a few poorly attended, empty grids.

Any thoughts?

#43 redreni

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 19:25

More bad news for the British series - http://www.autosport...t.php/id/108831 - Spa round is going to attract only a small grid, most of the European F3 entrants are not interested (and really, why should they be, considering that the series will not really grant them any different experience), although the Brands entry is likely to be a little better, hoping to attract more drivers from the MSV F3 Cup.

No word yet on plans for 2014, but I think there will have to be changes - no point continuing with overseas rounds if there are few entrants - it devalues the competition and makes it even less worth entering. I think the main options would be either:

- Run a single event on a single weekend, like the Macau GP or the Zandvoort Masters. Both of these attract good entry lists (this month's Masters of F3 had a 28 car grid) because they are one-off events and so look good on a CV for an overall win. Not exactly the best way to develop a series, but instead it will keep the name and title lineage alive so that if in future the FIA European series declines, it could become more expansive again. If opened up to multiple classes (as the British F3 is at the moment), should be able to ensure a very large grid.

- Combine the British F3 Championship with MSV's F3 cup. This series (official website) runs on a selection of British circuits as well as an overseas round (Zolder this year) with machinery from 2007 and before. It is quite a mixed series with a split of young progressing drivers and older privateers. The F3 championship could be combined completely, pitching the series as the premier domestic open-wheeler category for upcoming drivers (fitting in with Gerhard Berger's designs for domestic F3 competition), or could be run at a selection of rounds, with the more modern Dallara machinery running on the same grid as the older Cup/Trophy cars. Again it would be something of a step back for the series, but retains the name and ethos better than a few poorly attended, empty grids.

Any thoughts?


I hate to say it but I think they should do what Berger wants them to do and drop "International" from the title, become essentially a national feeder series to the European Championship, like Euro F3 Open or the former Italian F3 Championship, possibly by merging their national series with F3 Cup as you suggest. Keep costs down, stay in Britain, look after the teams. As you say, if Berger's ideas fall by the wayside or FIAF3EC loses its way, then look at expanding into Europe again, racing on Grand Prix tracks, and giving the teams from the European Championship an alternative.