British Formula 3 is the world’s oldest F3 championship. It started in 1951 and has remained one of the series you must compete in as an aspiring professional driver. One of the reasons it has been so successful for so long is that it regularly produces future Formula 1 World Champions.
Sixty years ago the series ran 500cc cars, but by 1959 it had joined forces with Formula Junior and moved away from the half-litre machines. The confusing thing with British F3 was that for many years there wasn’t just one championship. In 1964, when the FIA gave the series its Formula 3 title, it featured two championships, one of which was won by Rodney Banting, the other by an up-and-coming Scot called Jackie Stewart In the early ’70s there were three series under one umbrella and it wasn’t until 1979 that it was pared down to one main prize. Even now there are two classes within the championship one for the main title and a Rookie class. The Formula 3 Euro Series is a relatively new venture by comparison which only started in 2003. British F3 was the dominant category series and, with so many others scattered
around the world each enjoying varying degrees of competitiveness, it made sense to create another headline championship.
It may be quite a new series, but it has produced an astonishing number of professional drivers. There’s a list below, but add to that Ryan Briscoe, Christian Klien, Alexandre Premat, Jamie Green, Adrian Sutil, Sebastien Buemi, Nico Hulkenberg and Nicolas Lapierre. That’s not bad for only eight full seasons of racing.