Small FV8 3.5 grid in 2017 a warning to F1 ladder - Alguersuari

The slender 2017 World Series Formula V8 3.5 grid is a symptom of problems with the Formula 1 ladder not the series itself, says promoter Jamie Alguersuari Sr

The former Formula Renault 3.5 championship only fielded 12 cars for its opener at Silverstone last month, despite hopes a new calendar tie-up with the World Endurance Championship would improve matters after a tough 2016 following the loss of Renault support.

Alguersuari, whose RPM organisation has run the series since its inception, argued the whole junior single-seater ladder was being affected by the difficulty in making it to F1 without substantial funding.

"The [number of] drivers in World Series is a notice for F1, for FIA, for the fans and the press," he told Autosport.

"What does 12 drivers mean in World Series - six teams only? Reality.

"The big single-seaters are in crisis, and the little single-seaters are not. Is this a paradox? Yes. It's a paradox.

"Formula Renault 2.0, European Formula 3 are good. Formula 4 is more or less OK.

"The immediate future will be complicated for motorsport.

"Motorsport should promote through good performances and talent. It's not, except maybe [Max] Verstappen.

"But in general, you need money, money, money, money, money.

"It is not a World Series problem but a problem in general."

GP2 has received FIA endorsement and been rebranded as Formula 2 for 2017, but its grid has declined slightly to 20 cars and Alguersuari argued it was little better off than his series.

"F2, it's a fantastic title. If it gives you the access to F1 without money, then OK," Alguersuari continued.

"But it's only a title, a number and letter."

Alguersuari suggested FV8 3.5 might be wiser to steer young drivers towards sportscar careers.

"My concern is families and young drivers," he said.

"The question for me is where I should push these young drivers to be professionals.

"Formula 1? Probably not. Maybe in LMP1, LMP2, LMP3.

"My company will look for a solution."

Fortec took Robin Frijns (pictured leading Jules Bianchi and Kevin Magnussen in 2012) and Oliver Rowland to championships when the series was known as FR3.5, and its team manager Jamie Dye still has faith in the category.

"The future of World Series is clear from who's involved, and it should be on the up again," he told Autosport.

"This should be a transitional season with the WEC. The racing is good, the cars are good.

"Track time remains good, and against rival categories the tyre lasts a race competitively, which makes sense for the budget and the learning process for the drivers."

Austrian driver Rene Binder has swapped between FV8 3.5 and GP2 over the last two seasons but is committed to Alguersuari's series with the Charouz-run Lotus team this year.

"I drove three seasons in GP2, and I have better possibilities here driving with a top team in this category," he said.

"I also see that the teams are much closer together than in GP2, and also the car is really nice to drive, especially in quick corners."


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