Fans of the British F3 series can expect a new qualifying and race format for 2010 as well as an updated points system designed to fit with its expansion from 20 to 30 races.
The series’ newly-published draft sporting regulations, which are awaiting FIA approval, propose a half-hour race following a single 30-minute qualifying session on the first public day of each meeting.
On day two, a 20-minute half-points sprint featuring what organisers describe as “a semi-reversed grid” (of the sort used by GP2) will be followed by a 40-minute feature race based on top qualifying times.
Bernadette Fitzsimons, general manager of SRO Motorsports Group, British F3’s promoter, said: “This is the single biggest change to the format of British Formula 3 since the twin-race concept was introduced in the 1990s. We are delighted with the initiative, which came from the teams themselves.
“The reverse-grid sprint race will, I am sure, prove a real crowd-pleaser, and it will provide a chance for drivers who might not otherwise come too close to the podium to get up there.
“And the 40-minute feature race will offer a great chance of success to those drivers who have looked after their machinery and their tyres during the course of the race weekend – it should provide some fascinating results.”
She said the most important aspect of the new arrangements was the opportunity for competitors to get more race starts under their belts: “It will, I am sure, prove invaluable in their future careers.”
Jay Bridger, embarking on his third season in British F3 at the wheel of a Volkswagen-powered Dallara run by Litespeed F3, said: “I think it will suit drivers who have a bit more experience of F3.
“The three-race format will make it more interesting for the drivers, and for everyone watching, and it’s going to be important to be consistent and to have the car set up right, so that you use the tyres correctly.
“Drivers will need to use their brains a bit and stay out of trouble. I’m working on my fitness a lot more, because if you are not up to scratch fitness-wise it’s going to have an effect.”
The first meeting held under the new format will be at Oulton Park on Saturday April 3 and Monday April 5.
The new format – how it works
- Qualifying: A single 30-minute session.
- Race 1: A 30-minute contest with the grid arranged according to competitors’ second-fastest times in qualifying. The top 10 in the International and National classes will each earn points from 20 down to one. There will also be an extra point for the fastest race lap in each class.
- Race 2: A 20-minute race with the top Race 1 finishers in reverse order. The winner of the first race will perform a podium draw to find where on the grid they will start – anywhere between sixth and 10th. Points will be awarded in the range 10 down to one to the top 10 International and National class finishers, with two extra points awarded for the fastest race lap in each class.
- Race 3: A 40-minute contest with the grid arranged according to competitors’ fastest times in qualifying. Points awarded according to the same scale as Race 1.