For­mula Re­nault NEC bites the dust

Autosport (UK) - - PIT + PADDOCK - MAR­CUS SIM­MONS

FOR­MULA RE­NAULT NEC

Euro­pean sin­gle-seater rac­ing suf­fered a no­table ca­su­alty just be­fore Christ­mas when the For­mula Re­nault North­ern Euro­pean Cup threw in the towel – and the series pro­moter pinned the blame on the FIA.

“The ill-con­ceived FIA plans for the fu­ture of for­mula rac­ing has meant that over the past three years we have seen a se­ri­ous de­cline in the young-driv­ers mar­ket,” said Mick de Haas. “The costs are far too high for in­di­vid­ual driv­ers and the mar­ket­place is too frag­mented. There is now no more room for a very ef­fec­tive and com­pet­i­tive sin­gle­seater con­cept like For­mula Re­nault 2.0.”

The series was born in 2006 as a merger of the Ger­man and Dutch na­tional series, and it also mopped up the UK teams when their cham­pi­onship died six years later. When Re­nault Sport upped its Eurocup from seven rounds to 10 in ’17, FR NEC suf­fered as those who had con­tested dual cam­paigns fo­cused on Eurocup only. NEC limped on in ’18 at Re­nault Sport’s re­quest, with the French gi­ant hop­ing that the Eurocup’s switch to Re­gional F3 cars for ’19 would pro­vide a new home for those con­tin­u­ing with older Fre­nault 2.0 ma­chin­ery.

A lot of tal­ent emerged from the series. Valt­teri Bot­tas, the 2008 cham­pion, holds the all-time wins record. The best win­ning per­cent­age be­longs to ’07 king and fu­ture GT star Frank Kechele, whose sin­gle-seater ca­reer was then de­railed by Crohn’s dis­ease.

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