British Formula 3 slashes 2013 calendar to four events
|By Marcus Simmons||Monday, January 28th 2013, 18:46 GMT|
The British Formula 3 International Series has slashed its calendar from 10 rounds to four triple-headers for 2013.
With very few drivers committing to British F3, the decision was made to focus on a mini-series in order to ensure the survival of the championship.
British F3 will kick off on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit on May 25-26, before supporting the Spa 24 Hours (July 25-27), racing at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit (August 10-11) and supporting the Nurburgring round of the Blancpain Endurance Series (September 21-22).
It is understood that this move is a bid to attract teams from the European F3 Championship to contest extra races, and also make it viable for drivers on small budgets to chase a programme in current-spec F3.
The races will also be open to cars from the German F3 Cup and the European F3 Open.
Promoter the Stephane Ratel Organisation has acted after discussions with teams group FOTA, and tyre supplier and title sponsor Cooper.
It means that there will no longer be F3 events at Oulton Park, Snetterton, Donington Park and Paul Ricard, while the Pau Grand Prix has also been left without a headlining series.
For reaction from British F3 teams, see this week's AUTOSPORT magazine out on Thursday
2013 British F3 calendar 25-26 May Silverstone 25-27 July Spa-Francorchamps 10-11 August Brands Hatch 21-22 September Nurburgring
Marcus Simmons, British F3 correspondent
What a shame that it's come to this.
There's a book waiting to be written on the behind-the-scenes machinations faced by Formula 3 over the past 12 months.
The end result is a European championship that looks phenomenally strong for 2013, but British F3 has taken hits on nearly every front.
With only a handful of drivers signed up for the International class, it is right that SRO, the teams and Cooper acted at this point rather than delaying until the last minute - as happened with Formula Renault UK in 2012.
But now, with only two British F3 rounds set to be held in the UK in 2013 (and even that depends on this initiative working), racegoers in this country are effectively left with hardly any chances to see single-seater racing above the very junior levels.
That leaves further worrying implications for the British motorsport industry.
Do the British-owned teams in F3 and FRenault need to stay in the UK any longer? If not, what are the knock-on effects for the small technology companies that underpin the sport, or even the circuits that rely on income from test days?
It would be easy to be blinded by the relative strength of our national Touring Car and GT championships, but there are some critical issues that need addressing in single-seaters from the very highest levels of our sport's governance.