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

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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.”

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