THE MOTOR SPORT/SHELL FORMULA THREE CHAMPIONSHIP

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PROSPECTS FOR THE NEW SEASON

THE institution by MOTOR SPORT and Shell of an International Championship for this season’s Formula Three racing has plainly provided this class of the sport with just the impetus it needs. Despite the “graduation” of last season’s top four F3 performers to Formula Two, despite this being the last year of the present 1-litre regulations, and despite the complaints that F3 needs more power, the 1970 season promises close, intensely exciting racing between drivers of the very best calibre. Furthermore, most of them have set the MOTOR SPORT/Shell Championship as their principal objective and will be making every effort to take part in the 12 qualifying rounds.

With so many well-matched cars and drivers, the start of the season is not the proper time to make any forecast of the final outcome of the Championship. But a glance through the very full entry list for the first race in the series, which took place at Snetterton on March 27th (too late to be reported in this issue) shows some new names as well as those of experienced F3 campaigners. Among the new men in Brabhams are Gerry Birrell (who has works support) and Dick Barker, both already winners in the world of Formula Ford, Aberdonian Richard Scott and Londoner Mike Beuttler (both of whom were very promising at the close of 1969), plus 1969 Grovewood Award winner Tony Trimmer and numerous others.

In the Chevron ranks can be found sports-car driver Chris Skeaping, anxious to capitalise on some impressive sports-car drives in 1968 and 1969, New Zealander Bert Hawthorne (once Hulme’s mechanic in F2), successful Northerners Barrie Maskell, Norman Foulds, Peter Hanson and Cyd Williams, Swiss Jurg Dubler and American Steve Matchett, who although he has F3 experience is back in this class of racing after jointly-winning the 1969 UK Formula Vee title.

The Gold Leaf-backed two-car effort from Team Lotus has two new drivers in one-time kartist Bev Bond and British Formula Ford Champion David Walker, an Australian who has lived in England for several years.

Another 1969 Grovewood Award winner, James Hunt, is also entered in a Lotus, as are Brazilians Jose Pace and Wilson Fittipaldi, the latter the brother of 1969 Lombank Champion Emerson Fittipaldi.

Almost half of the drivers entered, indeed, were not born in the United Kingdom, which indicates that Formula Three is now established world-wide and is the real driver training ground for any ambitious young man who has his sights set on a Formula One seat in the future.

We hope that MOTOR SPORT readers will enjoy watching the races and “spotting” future World Champions. The second round of the Championship takes place on April 26th at Snettertorn, the third at Monaco on May 5th.

The Formula Three race (a round in the Championship) which accompanies the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch has now had to be moved to the preceding Friday, July 17th.

A second Championship event, the date of which has had to he altered, is the one scheduled for August 1st at Crystal Palace. This will now take place at the same circuit on October 3rd; it is organised by the British Racing & Sports Car Club, and not as wrongly stated in MOTOR SPORT for January.—M. G. D.