Can BRDC F4 really emulate British F3?
BRDC F4 is set for a big 2016, but can it become our new F3 class? By Rob Ladbrook
In a word yes, but that largely depends on the FIA’S stance on things.
At the time of writing, the FIA was in final discussions with series organisers about handing BRDC Formula 4 ‘National F3’ status, which would lead to a rebranding of the championship. Whether that rebranding would carry the actual F3 title with it, despite the car not being an F3 product, is one of the discussion points.
The FIA likes Jonathan Palmer’s concept of taking one of its FIA F4 homologated cars and moving it on to a new performance plane. That fits with the FIA’S ladder concept, and the FIA has expressed concern over the lack of regional F3 series now, which is seen to also have a detrimental effect on entries to the European F3 Championship. It’s ironic, seeing as the FIA effectively killed national F3 by writing rules stating that any cars that weren’t current generation with current spec engines couldn’t be called F3 anymore. Yet now it is seriously considering renaming a non-f3 formula as it does represent a true stepping stone.
Teams and drivers are quick to admit that the step between FIA F4 and F3 is currently too big, both in performance and budget.
Trevor Carlin, whose eponymous team will field three BRDC F4 cars this year, says: “Drivers have to have something inbetween to learn with. The performance gap in terms of both aero and mechanical grip between the MSA Formula car and an F3 car is massive. The BRDC F4 car is a great middle ground.
“We do see it as a British F3 replacement, which is needed as drivers should learn racing here as we have great circuits – many with limited run-off that punishes mistakes – which teaches them to be precise.”