‘BRDC F4 could become British F3’
British Formula 3 could make a shock return this season – in the form of the BRDC Formula 4 Championship.
According to Motorsport News’ sources, the idea was discussed at the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Geneva last Friday and it could be pushed through during the next week – just in time for the opening round at Snetterton on March 27/28.
The new Cosworth-powered Tatuus chassis used in BRDC F4 are significantly faster than their predecessors, with early testing indicating that they are not far off F3 pace. Meanwhile, an upgrading to F3 status could also mean series boss Jonathan Palmer relinquishing his ownership of the F4 trademark in the UK to MSA Formula, which runs to FIA F4 regulations.
While Palmer said he was unable to comment on the story, team bosses gave the thumbs up to the move, which would mean F3 returning to the UK as a single-seater ‘ladder’ class after an absence of one year.
Fortec Motorsport, Double R Racing and Carlin, which all supported British F3 up to its demise at the end of 2014, have all entered BRDC F4 for the first time in ’16.
Fortec boss Richard Dutton said: “The new BRDC F4 car is everything we ever wanted for British F3 – it’s a great little car and it’s inexpensive.”
Dutton said that he played a part in getting the FIA and Palmer to discuss the move. “It made perfect sense to me,” he said. “I spoke to the FIA about it at the Macau Grand Prix, and then I was chatting to them at the Autosport Awards when Palmer walked past, so I grabbed him and said, ‘Why don’t you have a serious conversation?’ I think they did that a couple of weeks later. If I’ve done something good at long last, then so be it!”
Double R chief Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt added: “It would be very good for British racing and for the MSA to get a bit of clarity between the two series [BRDC F4 and MSA Formula], because they’re aimed at very different levels of competition.
“Having two F4 series in the same country doesn’t help anybody, but there is room for both and, for the Palmer car, having the title of F3 wouldn’t embarrass it. It’s a seriously quick car, so it’s not fair to tar it with the F4 brush. Palmer had a great vision with the car, and I think it’s ended up being even better than he anticipated.
“We need to keep European F3 as the pinnacle, while this is a good middle ground from F4. It just seems funny that the FIA desperately tried to kill off regional F3, and now in quite a short time frame they’re trying to get it going again!”
It is understood that budgets for the new BRDC F4 are similar to MSA Formula, and roughly one third those of European F3.