European F3 set to drop Paul Ricard from calendar
|By Jamie O'Leary||Friday, June 7th 2013, 09:22 GMT|
Paul Ricard is set to be dropped from the Formula 3 European Championship calendar in the coming weeks, AUTOSPORT has learned.
The series announced last November that its final round would be held at the French venue on October 26-27 as part of the GT Tour event that encompasses the country's domestic GT and Porsche Carrera Cup series plus others.
This now appears highly unlikely as negotiations between the FIA and France's motorsport Federation - the FFSA – regarding the amount of track time the F3 series will be granted, have floundered.
An official announcement is expected following the next meeting of the FIA World Motorsport Council on June 28, at which plans for a replacement round will be ratified.
Frederic Bertrand, the head of the FIA sporting department, would not confirm that the Paul Ricard round has been cancelled, simply saying: "We are fully focused on finding a good solution for our 10th round."
Teams were informed of the decision during a meeting at last weekend's Spielberg event. Opinion from the competitors was that reducing the calendar to nine rounds was not a favourable option.
AUTOSPORT understands that preliminary talks have taken place with British F3 promoter Stephane Ratel about the possibility of the European series taking over its spot on the Spa 24 Hours bill at the end of July, and that the Superstars International Series round planned for Vallelunga on October 12-13 is also a strong candidate to host the championship.
The presence of enough available track time to accommodate the usual F3 sessions and of TV crews to film and broadcast the event are believed to be crucial factors in the decision.
The DTM rounds at Lausitz, Oschersleben and Moscow – none of which are scheduled to host European F3 this year – have all been discounted. The two German tracks are holding German F3 Cup rounds on the dates in question while teams are not keen to travel to Russia this year.