RENAULT BOLSTERS EUROCUP PRIZE FUND
The Formula Renault Eurocup will expand to run almost double the number of races next season after Renault Sport increased its backing for the championship.
The French firm has announced an expanded calendar and prize package for the pan-european junior singleseater contest, which will increase from seven to 10 events in 2017.
Plans are also underway to effectively double the number of races from the current 15 to almost 30.
Together with the expanded schedule, Renault Sport F1 Team has leant its support to the class, pledging to help fund the top two drivers in the points at the end of the season in 2018, along with making them Renault Sport Academy members. The champion will receive 75 per cent of their 2018 budget, while second place will get 35 per cent backing.
While the calendar has yet to be finalised, two races on the support card to the Monaco Grand Prix are in discussion, as is a triple-header at the Pau street circuit in France.
The increased support comes after Renault’s decision to cease its funding of Formula Renault 3.5, which has continued this season under the Formula 3.5 V8 moniker.
Fortec Motorsports’ Richard Dutton said: “This move is fantastic for the Eurocup and it’s all very positive. We haven’t seen commitment like this from Renault since FR3.5.
“Renault wants to make the Eurocup a serious contender and aim for that slot between Formula 4 and Formula 3 and the prize fund will be a big attraction to drivers. There’s no restriction to where they have to go either, it’s up to the drivers to choose their next move.”
Dutton acknowledged that the expansion would have a knock-on effect on budgets, but argued that an expanded Eurocup could take the place of regional classes such as the Formula Renault ALPS and Northern European Cup.
“Many of the current drivers are doing dual programmes in the Eurocup and NEC, or ALPS, or all three, so the rise in budget wouldn’t be prohibitive to them so they’d now just need a single campaign,” added Dutton on the planned changes for next year.
coached by 1988 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Andy Wallace.
“I didn’t know what to expect because I had so much running in mixed conditions and never felt like I knew the limits of the car in the dry, but that races were the same and I’m really pleased with the performance.”
“I learned that I definitely couldn’t make a career out of it, but I’d love to do a lot more.”
Sky Sports F1 will broadcast cover Brookes’ debut during the German Grand Prix qualifying show next weekend.