British Formula 3 faces poor grid for Spa

The British Formula 3 International Series is facing a tough second round at Spa-Francorchamps next week after a spate of withdrawals

British Formula 3 faces poor grid for Spa

Puerto Rican Felix Serralles has called time on his British F3 campaign with Fortec Motorsport due to his back injuries, although he will continue in the European championship, while Italian powerhouse Prema Powerteam has been forced to go back on its wish to contest the event.

Serralles hurt his back in last September's British F3 round at Silverstone and, although undetected at first, he has discovered that he has slight cracks on two vertebrae, as well as bulges to the L5 and S1 discs.

He is returning to the Caribbean for more treatment, forcing him to miss Spa, and is hopeful that he can avoid surgery.

"I've pulled out of British F3 for a few reasons," said Serralles, who anchors the points table after incidents spoiled two races in the opening round, "but the main reason is to let my back recover."

Meanwhile, Prema could not convince any of its other drivers to join Alex Lynn at the Spa event, so the trip does not make financial sense.

Team manager Rene Rosin said: "I couldn't get agreement from anyone else, and we could not manage to go with just one car."

This means that just eight cars will be represented in the International Class - which is led by Fortec Motorsport's Will Buller - for Spa.

In the National Class, AUTOSPORT understands that Team West-Tec is hoping to find a second driver to join New Zealander Chris Vlok.

The other six drivers run by West-Tec in the Silverstone opener are not contesting the Spa round as the team came under pressure from European F3 Open organisers not to race at the Belgian track, which is coming up later this year on the EF3O schedule. Vlok's deal is for British F3 only.

CF Racing will take its regular driver Sun Zheng, and has a second car available.

AUTOSPORT says
Marcus Simmons, British F3 correspondent
(@marcussimmons54)

The latest news on the entry for the Spa round is another hammerblow for British Formula 3 as organisers seek to keep the series alive.

Everyone expected a bunch of FIA Formula 3 European Championship teams to be there, but instead we're down to the International Class's faithful three: Carlin, Fortec and Double R.

So the event that looked as though it would be the calendar's highlight is instead going to turn out a low point. If we're pessimistic, there'll be a total of 10 cars on the grid (on a 2m15s lap), and if we're optimistic it will be 12.

But don't take this as an indication for the following round on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit over the August 10/11 weekend.

For starters, West-Tec can return to a more representative line-up, as Brands is not on the European F3 Open calendar. Furthermore, Brands - unlike Spa - does not clash with an MSV F3 Cup race.

Alice Powell proved at Silverstone that a well-driven 2005-07-generation MSV car can compete with the West-Tec machines, so hopefully some of her rivals can be tempted to join her for Brands.

Best of all, AUTOSPORT has learned that we can expect two more cars to join the International Class grid in Kent, so hopefully it will be a field to do justice to a classic circuit.

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