Further blow to upcoming talent


With Formula One increasingly looking to pay drivers, youngsters looking to get on the motor sport ladder have been dealt another bitter blow as the British F3 Championship is reduced to four rounds.

In the eyes of many, the British Formula 3 Championship has been the proving ground of champions, producing many of the drivers who went onto win the Formula One World Championship title.

F1 world champions Jim Clark, Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna and Mika Hakkinen all won the British F3 title - as did so many other great drivers - talent coming from all over the world to contest what was widely perceived as the true proving ground of racing talent.

Now, as youngsters face the knowledge that a healthy bankroll will get them further than talent, the sport has been rocked by the news that the 2013 British F3 Championship will consist of twelve races at four venues, Silverstone, Spa Francorchamps, Brands Hatch and the Nurburgring.

"The extended FIA European F3 Championship has absorbed the commercial resources for teams heading in to 2013," admitted organisers in a statement. "This leaves the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series facing a difficult and uncertain future.

"Therefore the amended calendar for 2013 has been designed with the full approval of the teams that are already committed to the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series. They, along with SRO and all partners involved stress that this move is a necessary step to safeguard the health and future prospects of the series and to protect its rich 62 year heritage and image as an essential step to Formula One."

With more and more championships, despite an ongoing global financial crisis, this was probably inevitable, however, that hasn't lessened the impact the news has had.

"Crazy that British F3 reduced to (possibly) four triple header rounds, half of which outside UK," tweeted Martin Brundle, who fought a hard battle with Ayrton Senna for the 1983 title, losing out in the final laps of the final race. "A launch pad for so many of us in the past.

"Junior Motorsport is way too expensive, too fragmented," he added, "and too much money percolates up through the top and completely out of the business."

The announcement comes in the wake of Gian Carlo Minardi's call for the FIA to take action, the Italian having seen his country's F3 championship series - another strong proving ground of talent in the past - cancelled.

The writing is on the wall guys. As Brundle so rightly says, the money percolates up through the top. However, if we lose championships we lose drivers... and in time that will go all the way to the very top.

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Published: 29/01/2013
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