Category Archives: Formula 3

What’s in a Name – The Issues with Formula 3?

The FIA have warned National Formula 3 championships throughout Europe that they may not be able to use the ‘F3’ name following the FIA F3 European Championship’s switch to the international governing body’s new regulations for 2014.

The British and German F3 championships have both confirmed that they will use older specification engines and electronics to save on costs, and the MSA and DMSB, who run the British and German championships respectively, are in dialogue with the FIA over the matter.

The European F3 Open, which began its life as the Spanish F3 championship in 2001, has already changed its name to EuroFormula Open, while the Masters of Formula 3, one of the blue ribbon events of the year, has already stated it will run cars of the older specifications from the British and German F3 championships, and will remove the F3 name from its title.


“We’ve put together a set of regulations that will appeal to British F3 and ATS German F3 Cup teams,” said race coordinator Barry Bland.

David Coulthard won the inaugural Masters of Formula 3 title in 1991, and the event has seen the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Paul di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg and Takuma Sato win the Dutch-based event.  In 2013, Swedish driver Felix Rosenqvist won for the second time in three years.

The cost of upgrading engines to 2014 specifications would have had implications on the entry levels of the European F3 Open said series the boss of promoter GT Sport, Jesus Pareja.

“To keep the F3 denomination would have entailed adopting the new FIA F3 engine rules, something that would have had severe budget implications for the teams,” said Pareja.

“We are of the view that this is not wise, especially in the current economic context. We think that offering a high-performance formula at the most reasonable cost possible is the right way forward.

“Furthermore, with the 2014 engine upgrade, the Euroformula Open cars will have a performance level similar to any other series using F3 chassis.

“For us to retain the freedom to further improve the performance package and the cost-effectiveness in the future is a crucial point.

“The name change also avoids confusion with the European F3 Championship recently reinstated by the FIA. We definitely think that preserving the essence of our series is more important than what it is called.”


Frits van Amersfoort, a team owner who runs cars in both the European and German F3 series, admits that the FIA trying to get all F3 championships to follow one set of rules is important, but does not believe older specification cars should miss out on being called F3 cars.

“They are trying to get everything under one umbrella and I think that’s important,” said van Amersfoort, “but I can’t understand why people with older cars and engines can’t call themselves F3.

“The FIA must understand that it takes time to adapt to new regulations. You can’t change the world in one winter.

“It is vital that the British and the German series (pictured) can keep the name ‘F3’ – it’s the most important thing the series have.”


Peter Briggs, who runs British Formula 3 teams group FOTA, believes it is sad that cars built for F3 may not be able to use the F3 name.

“FOTA and SRO [the British F3 promoter] have never been asked not to use the F3 title,” he said.

“I don’t think it will make any difference to race entries. It’s just sad for historical purposes that a car built as an F3 car couldn’t be called F3.”

So why have the FIA clamped down so much on the use of the F3 name?  In the long run it seems like a good idea to have one set of rules covering all the series’, but to try and enforce it over one winter is boarding on stupid.

The British and German F3 championships are two of the most important championships in the world of motorsport; 18 of the 22 drivers in Formula 1 raced in British F3 at some point.  To even think about removing the F3 name from such a historic series as British F3 is saddening.

“I just hope that common sense will win and that there will be national series for F3 in Britain and Germany, because these are needed as feeder series for European F3,” said van Amersfoort.

And I concur.  The FIA need to relax and allow the F3 name to continue to be used by the British and German F3 events.  The F3 name has already been lost from the Zandvoort Masters, we cannot have it disappearing from anything else.

Sources: Autosport

Max Verstappen – 16, Dutch and (Potentially) F3 Bound

It is very rare for myself to write about a driver who has just made his debut in single-seater racing, but there is a lot of hype surrounding sixteen-year-old Max Verstappen that I just had to look into it myself.


The latest son-of-a-former-F1-driver to break into motor sport himself, Max Verstappen is following in the footsteps of his father Jos, who raced for Benetton, Simtek, Arrows and Minardi in Formula 1, claiming two podium finishes as Michael Schumacher’s team-mate in the 1994 season.

However Max will want to avoid the pitfalls that befell his father.  He was rushed into the Benetton drive in ‘94 when confirmed driver JJ Lehto crashed and injured his neck, ruling him out for a few races.  It was clear he was not ready, and despite two podium finishes, Benetton did not retain him for 1995.

Max will want to be ready for Formula 1, should he get there.  He made his karting debut at seven years of age, and made his move into international karting competition in 2010.  He finished second racing for the CRG team in the KF3 World Cup, while he won the WSK Euro series crown.


He retained his WSK Euro series title in 2011, and then stepped up to KF2 level for 2012, winning the WSK Master Series and finishing second in the World Cup.  In 2013 he raced to the KF2 class European Championship title, while finishing third in the KF1 World Championship.

Max made his debut in a single-seater series in the Florida Winter Series, which is being hosted by the Ferrari Formula 1 team.  In the first race weekend of the series, he topped qualifying in just the second session he tried, and finished a high of fourth in the races.  He subsequently won race three of the second weekend of races at the Palm Beach International Raceway, having once again topped qualifying.  After two events, he sits second in the championship behind Ferrari junior driver Antonio Fuoco, with two more events to come.

Father Jos admits that Max could make the leap straight into the FIA European Formula 3 series for 2014, bypassing the usual route of racing Formula 3 at a national level.  Max tested an F3 car back in December, but the sixteen year old is also contemplating the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 series.

“Max is looking at European Formula Renault 2.0, but also European F3,” said Jos.

“Max’s driving style is very suited to F3. These cars have a lot of front end, which he likes a lot, and he was immediately very fast when he tested.”

Setting competitive lap times in your debut test in a car is impressive for anyone, let alone a sixteen year old, who will not turn seventeen until the end of September.  But is he ready for international competition, especially in the ultra-competitive European F3 series.


Jos will want his son to be competitive, which is for certain.  It might be prudent to allow Max to get experience in single-seater cars under his belt before pushing him into European F3, but the opportunity might not arise again.

“It is better to concentrate on one series and Max needs to learn, but I’m impressed with what he has done so far,” said Jos.  “The speed is there and this is the main thing.”

From what has been seen in his very short career so far, it might be that Max Verstappen is the latest talent on the recent up swing of Dutch motorsport.  Having seen Giedo van der Garde and Robin Frijns reach F1 level, as either race or test drivers, Max could well be the next.  At sixteen he has his career ahead of him, but the initial signs are positive.

Max Verstappen – remember his name, he might just be someone special.  I will be keeping my eyes on him that is for sure.

Felix Rosenqvist – Swede On The Rise

1978 was a absolutely devastating year for Swedish motor racing with both Ronnie Peterson and Gunnar Nilsson losing their lives, Peterson through the after effects of a terrible first lap accident at Monza, while Nilsson lost his battle with testicular cancer.  The following years Swedish Grand Prix at Anderstorp was cancelled due to the interest in motor racing diminishing after the loss of its two star drivers.  Since that tragic year, only two Swedish drivers have raced in Formula 1, Slim Borgudd, who raced 15 times for ATS and Tyrrell in 1981-1982, and Stefan Johansson, who raced between 1980 and 1991, racing for numerous teams including both Ferrari and McLaren.

However there are signs that a renaissance of Swedish motor racing is on the horizon.  Marcus Ericsson has been racing at or near the front of the GP2 Series for a couple of years now and has been signed to make his Formula 1 debut for the Caterham F1 team in 2014.  Jimmy Eriksson has confirmed his 2014 plans with a second season in the GP3 series, moving from Status Grand Prix to Russian Time, who will be making their debut in the series this year.  A third young Swede is John Bryant-Meisner, who raced in German Formula Three in 2013 and looks to graduate to the FIA European Formula 3 Championship in 2014.

But for me, the brightest talent right now coming from Sweden seems to be Felix Rosenqvist, who was runner up in the 2013 European Formula 3 Championship behind Ferrari Academy Driver Raffaele Marciello.

Rosenqvist 1

22-year-old Rosenqvist made his single-seater debut back in 2007, racing in the Asian Formula Renault Challenge, aged 15.  Driving for March 3 Racing, he won one race in Shanghai and finished on the podium an additional five times en-route to fourth in the championship.

For 2008, he raced in the Formula Asia 2.0 Series, again with March 3 Racing, but dominated the series, winning ten races and claiming the title ahead of Frenchman Matthias Beche by 71 points.  He also made a one-off appearance in the Asian Formula Renault Challenge, and won both races in Shanghai.


A return to his native Sweden in 2009 saw Rosenqvist win the Formula Renault 2.0 Sweden series driving for BS Motorsport, winning six races on the way to the title.  He also won the Formula Renault 2.0 North European Zone title for the same team, defeating fellow Swede Daniel Roos by a single point.  He also made a one-off appearance in Formula Palmer Audi, winning two of the three races that made up the final weekend of the season in Snetterton.

A move to the German Formula 3 championship in 2010 followed, and two race wins, both in Assen on different weekends, saw Rosenqvist finish fifth in the championship driving for Performance Racing.  He also made his debut around the streets of Macau, finishing ninth in the main race.

Rosenqvist 3

Rosenqvist finished fifth again in 2011, this time in the Formula 3 Euro Series driving for Mücke Motorsport.  He won one race at Hockenheim, and grabbed an additional nine podium places.  In 2012, he continued with Mücke Motorsport in the Euro Series, improving to fourth in the final standings with four wins – one each in Zandvoort and Valencia, and two at Hockenheim.  He also participated in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, being classified third behind Daniel Juncadella and Raffaele Marciello.  And in his second time in Macau, he finished an impressive second behind Antonio Felix da Costa.

Rosenqvist continued in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship for 2013, again with Mücke Motorsport.  He was the only driver to keep Marciello honest all year, and only finished 42.5 points behind the Ferrari-backed driver in the championship.  The Swede won on eleven occasions, including two rare trebles, winning all three races in Austria and the Netherlands.  He finished over 100 points clear of third-placed Alex Lynn.  Unfortunately his third visit to Macau ended up with him crashing out.

Rosenqvist 4

So what next for Felix Rosenqvist?  Over the years, he has clearly shown that he can be a race-winning driver, and as 2013 shows, he can be a championship-challenging driver.  Marciello has advanced to the GP2 series for 2014, while Alex Lynn has moved to the GP3 series.  Surely the Swede has the opportunity to move to one or other of those series for this year.

I feel he can be a force to be reckoned with over the upcoming few years, and could follow Marcus Ericsson and the legends of Ronnie Peterson and Gunnar Nilsson into Formula 1.

Raffaele Marciello – The Next Italian Ferrari F1 Driver?

The last Italian driver to race a full season for the legendary Ferrari team was, unbelievably, the late Michele Alboreto back during the 1988 Formula 1 season. Since then, a few Italians have tried to live up to the hype of being an Italian in the premiere team in Italy but with not much success.

Gianni Morbidelli raced once for the team, replacing Alain Prost for the infamous 14-lap 1991 Australian Grand Prix after the Frenchman was sacked, but another drive for the team was not forthcoming despite finishing sixth in the torrential rain of Adelaide. The following year Ivan Capelli drove for the Scuderia for fourteen out of sixteen races but was dropped for the final two after disappointing results.  His replacement for those final races of 1992, Nicola Larini, faired little better, though he did score a podium finish in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix while replacing an injured Jean Alesi in the team, a result that goes largely unnoticed due to the tragedy that beset that dark weekend.

It would be the 15 years later at the 2009 European Grand Prix on the Valencia street circuit that you would next see an Italian racing a Ferrari in Formula 1, with long-time test driver Luca Badoer finally given a shot after Felipe Massa suffered a season ending injury at the Hungarian Grand Prix.  However two extremely disappointing outings saw him dropped for another Italian in the name of Giancarlo Fisichella, who moved over from the Force India team.  Results for Fisichella were hardly any better than Badoer however, and he was not retained for 2010.

Marciello 1

All this could change over the next few years however, with the Ferrari young driver programme unearthing a very quick eighteen-year-old by the name of Raffaele Marciello.  The young Italian has just won the European Formula Three Championship, and has done very well ever since be made his single-seater debut back in 2010 in the Formula Abarth series.

Racing for the JD Motorsport in Formula Abarth, the talent was obvious when, as a fifteen-year-old, he won the first race of the season at Misano, following it up with another win at the Autodromo Riccardo Paletti in August, before finishing third in the championship behind Frenchman Brandon Maïsano and Swiss driver Patric Niederhauser.  He also won one of the races at the non-championship event at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps track.  His performance on track caught the eye of Ferrari, and along with Maïsano, was signed to the Ferrari Driver Academy.

Marciello 3

For 2011, Marciello stepped up from the Abarth series to the Italian Formula Three Championship, signing with the Prema Powerteam outfit.  He finished on the podium first time out at the Autodromo di Franciacorta in third place, and won race two at Misano at the next event.  A second win followed at the Adria International Raceway, and with three other visits to the podium secured third in the championship, behind champion and fellow Italian Sergio Campana and runner-up Michael Lewis of the United States.

He remained with Prema Powerteam for 2012, and ran a dual-campaign in the European Formula Three Championship and the Formula 3 Euro Series.  It the European F3 series, he finished second in the championship, winning seven races, including an amazing run of five consecutive races at Pau (both races), Brands Hatch (both races), and the first race at the Red Bull Ring.  He was beaten the to the title by Spaniard and fellow Prema driver Daniel Juncadella.  In the F3 Euro Series, he finished third in the championship, again behind Juncadella who won the title again, but also behind German racer Pascal Wehrlein.  He won six races on the road (at Hockenheim, twice at Brands Hatch, the Red Bull Ring, Noisiring and Valencia) and claimed one more when a guest driver ahead of him – Alexander Sims, who was ineligible for points – finished ahead of him on the road (at the Nurburgring).

Marciello 5

During the off-season, he travelled to the other side of the world to race in the Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand with the M2 Competition team.  He won once at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park before finishing ninth in the championship.

For 2013, Marciello continued in the European Formula Three Championship, again with Prema Powerteam, winning thirteen times on his way to the championship, his first title in his short career.  He won the first race of the season at Monza, and won on every track the series raced on apart from the Red Bull Ring and Zandvoort.  He won all three races at the Nurburgring, a very rare feat in the series.  He defeated highly rated Swede Felix Rosenqvist into second place in the final standings of the championship.

Marciello 4

So what is next for Raffaele Marciello?  Since the end of the European F3 Championship, he has tested for Trident Racing and Racing Engineering in GP2 series cars, and for DAMS, Tech 1 Racing, Strakka Racing and Arden Caterham in Formula Renault 3.5 series cars, with a view to racing in one or the other series in 2014.  It is not out of the question that Ferrari could place him in both series, as they do not clash, apart from at Monaco.  However it is most likely he will end up in one of them rather than both.  As to which, no one knows as of yet.

But what is certain, Raffaele Marciello is one of the brightest, up-and-coming drivers coming through the young driver ranks right now.  Ferrari have a genuine superstar in their academy, and it is likely he will be in Formula 1 sooner rather than later.  If he continues on the steep development curve, he could be the next Italian Ferrari driver in F1, and the first Italian Ferrari race winner since Alboreto.

Alex Lynn – Will Macau Victory Open Doors for his Future?

20-year-old Alex Lynn is the 2013 Macau Grand Prix winner. The British driver dominated both the qualifying and feature races for the Prema Powerteam outfit, defeating 2012 Macau winner Antonio Felix da Costa into second and Brazilian driver Pipo Derani into third.

But did his success on the streets of Macau come out of the blue, or is their something about this young man that is special?  And will his efforts help him progress in the tough world of single-seater motor racing?  Let’s analyse Lynn and let us see what he might be able to do in the years to come.

Lynn 1

Alex Lynn made his single-seater debut in October 2009 aged just 16 years and 43 days old, driving for Fortec Motorsport in the Formula Renault UK Winter series, finishing eighth in his first race and tenth in the championship after the four races of the series.

He continued with Fortec in the main Formula Renault UK series for 2010, and claimed tenth in the championship again, and finished on the podium for the first time in the series finale on the Brands Hatch International circuit.  He did win the Graduate championship however for first year drivers.

He returned to the Formula Renault UK Winter championship at the end of 2010, and took his first single-seater victories, winning both races at Snetterton and a further race at Pembrey.  He won the six-race championship with 146 points ahead of Finnish driver Joni Wirman, Brit Jack Hawksworth and Russian Daniil Kvyat.

He continued for a second year in the Formula Renault UK series for 2011, again with Fortec Motorsport, and dominated.  He won twelve of the twenty races, and only finished off the podium five times.  He finished ahead of fellow Brit Oliver Rowland, and current GP3 series star Tio Ellinas.

During the off-season in Europe, he went over to New Zealand to race in the Toyota Racing Series for Giles Motorsport for the first four events (12 races), winning race 3 of the opening event at Teretonga Park in Invercargill.  He finished ninth in the championship, and finished on the podium twice more, both at the Timaru International Motor Raceway.

For 2012, he moved to the British Formula 3 championship, once again with Fortec.  He finished fourth in the championship behind champion Jack Harvey, Malaysian Jazeman Jaafar and Puerto Rican team-mate Felix Serralles.  He won once, race three at Silverstone.

Lynn 2

He also ran occasional races in the FIA European Formula 3 championship as a guest driver, claiming two third places along the way, one at the legendary Pau track in France and the other at Hockenheim.  However as he was a guest driver, he was ineligible for scoring points towards the championship.

He raced in the Masters of F3 event in July of 2012 at Zandvoort, finishing seventh after qualifying tenth.  He also made his first appearance on the streets of Macau, and qualified impressively on pole position for the qualifying race in which he finished third, and he also finished third in the main race behind Portuguese driver Antonio Felix da Costa and Swedish driver Felix Rosenqvist.

Returned to New Zealand for Toyota Racing Series in January 2013, this time for the M2 Competition team, and he finished second in the championship behind Kiwi Nick Cassidy.  He won three times, once at Timaru International Motor Raceway, and twice at Taupo Motorsport Park.  He visited the podium nine times out of the 15 races in the series.

Lynn moved away from the Fortec Motorsports team for the first time in 2013, racing instead for the Prema Powerteam squad full time in the European Formula 3 Championship.  He won three races in finishing third in the championship, once at Brands Hatch, the Norisring and at Vallelunga.

And then he returned to Macau for a second shot at the Macau Grand Prix.  After qualifying third on the grid, he won the qualifying race, and then dominated the feature race, holding off Antonio Felix da Costa impressively, while Pipo Derani was over six seconds adrift in third.  Speaking after his triumph, Lynn was almost speechless.

“I can’t put into words how I feel,” Lynn said. “Since I finished third last year I’ve dreamed of winning this race. I can’t believe I’ve actually done it!”

Lynn 3

Still only 20, what could happen next for Alex Lynn.  His preference is another year with Prema Powerteam is possible in Formula 3, but he is testing with the DAMS team in Formula Renault 3.5 in the next few days with a view to stepping up in 2014.

“At the moment it’s probably the thinking to stay in Formula 3,” said Lynn.

“DAMS are a very good team and we want to have a link with them, if not for next year then for the future, and make the most of the opportunity.

“We’ll discuss things in the near future, but I’ve still got strong links with HWA [Mercedes, which has backed his F3 career to date] and we’ve still got the same plan.”

So if Formula 3 is his destination for 2014, he will be one to beat for the championship.  He has shown obvious talent in every series and event he has raced in up to now, and there is no reason why he cannot continue to shine.

If he steps up to Formula Renault, there is no reason why he cannot show his obvious skill and fight for points, podiums and indeed wins.

Lynn 4

The future is far brighter now for Alex Lynn post-Macau, but anyone who has followed his career has already seen how good he is.  His development curve is still on the up, he is still getting better, and that can only be positive for the young man.  He will be one to watch over the next few years, mark my words.

British Formula 3 Series 2014 Schedule


The 2014 British Formula 3 Series has returned to its roots, and sees an expansion from the four events of 2013 to seven events in total next year.  Gone is the race weekend at the Nurburging, with Spa being the only overseas event, while tracks returning to the fold are Rockingham, Snetterton, Thruxton and Donington Park.

Plans were to initially run 6 events, but a seventh was added to the schedule close to it being announced.  Hampshire track Thruxton, the fastest race track for racing in Europe, returns for the first time in three years, while Rockingham, Snetterton and Donington Park return after a season long absence.  The two rounds held in Britain this year at Silverstone and Brands Hatch also return.

Spa-Francorchamps remains on the schedule as a support series to the Blancpain Endurance series’ 24 hours of Spa.  The lose of the Nurburgring weekend is no surprise as the series aims to remain a cheap option for drivers in their progression through racing.

Double R Racing team boss Anthony Hieatt has said “It makes it a proper, viable championship, and retains the aim to keep it as cheap as possible.

“But the big thing the organisers have got to do is not to have clashes with European F3. If we’re going to do this cheaply, we need to be able to use the same personnel for both championships.”

The races at Silverstone and Thruxton are still to have their dates confirmed.

Provisional 2014 British Formula 3 Calendar

May 3-4 – Rockingham Motor Speedway
TBA – Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit
June 21-22 – Snetterton Circuit
July 25-26 – Spa Francorchamps, Belgium
TBA – Thruxton Circuit
August 30-31 – Brands Hatch
September 13-14 – Donington Park