What has happened to the British Formula 3 Championship? A few years ago, our national F3 series used to share top billing with the BTCC at certain meetings, and the two series appeared to enjoy similar levels of support. Nowadays, the BTCC’s profile is huge, while F3 struggles along, churning out the next generation of Grand Prix stars in front of an audience that can be measured in hundreds, rather than the thousands that the BTCC attracts.
I’m convinced that the likes of Gil de Ferran, Warren Hughes, Kelvin Burt and Paul Evans are all worthy competitors, who merit public support. So where is it? We can no longer even be sure that the British F3 champion’s name will be on every F3000 team manager’s lips, as the strength of the F3 competition in other countries appears to have increased. Germany, Italy and France habitually produce talented crops of young stars nowadays.
In my view, F3 is strong enough in mainland Europe to merit the re-introduction of a European F3 series. OK, it would increase travelling expenses for British-based teams, but if the series was relaunched with control fuel and tyres, testing restrictions and a maximum of 12 races, then surely it could be viable?
At present, it seems that rival F3 series are gaining in strength and popularity while our own stagnates. The best young drivers from countries without a strong motor racing framework no longer plump automatically for Britain. If Britain lost its national F3 series, present public apathy suggests that few people would care, and even fewer would notice. A European F3 series, on the other hand, would be a suitable stage for young drivers to show us just who really is the best.
Steven Farmer, Tunbridge Wells.