F2 and F3 to focus on cost saving drive instead of driver scholarships

Formula 2 and Formula 3 organisers will continue its drive to reduce costs instead of creating a driver scholarship initiative helping competitors raise funds during a COVID impacted economic climate.

Marino Sato, Trident

Uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic has created a much more difficult environment for drivers to secure budgets to compete in the F1 feeder series this year.

It is anticipated that not all drivers on the F2 and F3 grids will see out the year due to the tough economic conditions. It is thought a figure in the region of €2 million is the price tag to contest a season in F2.

F2 front runner Richard Verschoor has already revealed that he is yet to secure the funding to contest a full season and could only confirm his attendance at Monaco this weekend just days before the event. Meanwhile, Matteo Nannini has switched his focus from dual campaigns to F3 only due to financial concerns.

While the championship organisers are fully aware of the challenges drivers face to raise funds in these unusual times, boss Bruno Michel says his team will continue working to reduce costs to compete.

Cost-cutting measures have been introduced this season with F2 and F3 will conducting fewer rounds, but the same amount of races compared to previous years through a new three race weekend format.

The two championships have also been split and held on alternate Formula 1 weekends to help reduce staffing and travel costs to teams competing.

Michel believes a cost saving drive would be more beneficial than creating a driver scholarship system, similar to the ‘Road to Indy’ programme in the US, to help talented drivers progress or those in need of support.

Guanyu Zhou, Uni-Virtuosi Racing leads Christian Lundgaard, ART Grand Prix and Felipe Drugovich, Uni-Virtuosi at the start of the race

Guanyu Zhou, Uni-Virtuosi Racing leads Christian Lundgaard, ART Grand Prix and Felipe Drugovich, Uni-Virtuosi at the start of the race

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“We are not working on that [a driver scholarship system],” said Michel when asked by Autosport about the possibility of an initiative being set up to help drivers struggling for budget.

“The problem is always the same if you are helping some drivers why this one and not another one and it is quite difficult to say that we will help the fastest drivers or the ones with the best results. The situation is very different from one driver to another.

"Now we have a lot of drivers part of Formula 1 driver academies whether it is in F3 or F2 and it is very important. Some of the drivers have sponsors or a personal situation that allows them to do well and some others it is more difficult but that has always been the case.

“At the moment finding 30 drivers in F3 has been easier than finding 22 drivers in F2 but that depends on the season.

“Whether we should put a scholarship together, I don’t think so.

“I think the way to try to help the drivers is what we have been doing and what we have tried to do all the time is to decrease the costs and try to increase the revenue to the teams, so that that they hand a decreased cost to the drivers.

“That is what we are trying to achieve and so far let’s say it has been working but it is always quite a thin situation some drivers might not finish the season like it has happened in the past already.

“We always need to be careful and I’m always aware of the situation of the teams and drivers to try and anticipate things if possible.”

The F2 championship heads to Monaco this weekend for round two while F3 will be back in action at Paul Ricard on 18-20 June.

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