British F3 introduces reverse grids

The British Formula 3 Championship has released details of its new race format and points structure for the 2010 season - including reverse grid events and varying race lengths

British F3 introduces reverse grids

The series will include three races per meeting for the first time this year, meaning drivers will contest 30 across the spread of the season.

Draft sporting regulations, just published and yet to be rubber-stamped by the FIA, propose differing lengths for each race.

The first will keep the previous 30-minute duration and will follow a single, 30-minute qualifying session on the first public day of each meeting. The grid will be set by the drivers' second fastest times from qualifying.

On day two, a 20-minute half-points sprint race, featuring a semi-reversed grid, will open proceedings. The grid will be established by the finishing order of race one, with the best-placed cars in reverse order. The race one winner will perform a podium draw to determine where on the grid he will start - anywhere between sixth and 10th.

Each meeting will conclude with a 40-minute feature race designed to "place the emphasis on driver stamina, racecraft, and mechanical reliability", according to a statement from the organisers. The grid for this race will be set by competitors' fastest times in qualifying.

Points for races one and three will be awarded according to the previous structure: 20-15-12-10-8-6-4-3-2-1 to the top 10 in the International and National classes, with an additional point for the fastest race lap in each class.

Points for the reversed grid sprint race will be awarded on a reduced scale: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 to the top 10 in the International and National classes, but there will be an additional two points for the fastest race lap in each class.

"This is the single biggest change to the format of British Formula 3 since the twin-race concept was introduced in the 1990s," said Bernadette Fitzsimons, general manager of championship promoter SRO. "We are delighted with the initiative - which came from the teams themselves.

"The reverse-grid sprint race will, I am sure, prove a real crowd-pleaser, and it will provide a chance for drivers, who might not otherwise come too close to the podium, to get up there.

"The 40-minute feature race will offer a great chance of success for those drivers who have looked after their machinery and their tyres during the course of the race weekend; it should provide some fascinating results."

The format revision is welcomed by Jay Bridger, who is one of the most experienced of the drivers so far entered for the 2010 season. Bridger is beginning his third year in British F3, at the wheel of a Litespeed Dallara-VW.

Bridger said: "I think it will suit drivers who have a bit more experience of F3.

"The three-race format will make it more interesting for the drivers, and for everyone watching, and it's going to be important to be consistent and to have the car set up right, so that you use the tyres correctly.

"Drivers will need to use their brains a bit and stay out of trouble. I'm working on my fitness a lot more, because if you are not up to scratch fitness-wise it's going to have an effect."

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