This weekend's Masters of Formula 3 at Zandvoort will carry more significance than usual for the category's famed mid-season showpiece.
Not only will the Dutch dunes determine who will be the 21st Master, joining a roll call that includes the likes of David Coulthard, Lewis Hamilton and Paul di Resta, but this weekend's Zandvoort event will also likely crown the inaugural FIA F3 International Trophy winner.
Spaniard Roberto Merhi has dominated the first season of this new championship, created by the FIA to protect F3 against the proliferation of alternative junior single-seater series, chiefly GP3. The Mercedes-backed Prema Powerteam driver has won four of the five races held so far and needs just one more point from this weekend's event to seal the deal.
With the series set to conclude at November's Macau F3 GP (the original Korea Super Prix finale has been removed from the calendar since the schedule was announced), crowning the champion now will steal a little thunder away from that end-of-season extravaganza.
Not that Macau GP and FIA Trophy organiser Barry Bland will be too bothered of course, but what will bother Bland is the fact that support among drivers for the first season of this new venture has been modest at best. Only nine have taken part in the inaugural championship and just eight of those have contested every race.
To continue reading this feature, join Autosport Plus today.
Are you an Autosport magazine subscriber? Activate your online account
- Your Autosport Plus membership includes:
- Unlimited access to Autosport's news - no monthly cap.
- Read the best motorsport features, analysis and opinion.
- Explore Forix, our comprehensive motorsport stats database.
- Choose from a monthly or yearly membership.