One does not have to look too far into history to understand that British Formula 3 has seen better days.
That only seven drivers turned out for the sixth round of the 2014 season is indicative of the struggles the famed championship has faced in recent years.
British F3 is not alone by any stretch of the imagination. Other national series’, such as German and Australian F3, are also struggling to keep driver numbers up, while the Euroformula Open (previously the European F3 Open) is experiencing a severe dip in numbers this year.
As Peter Briggs, chairman of the Formula Three Association, commented on Sunday, “The teams are here, the cars are here, there are plenty of spares and extras – all that’s missing are the drivers.” A former F3 team boss, Briggs has been involved in motorsport for almost forty years and is determined to keep British F3 afloat.
While a merger with the German championship may not be permissible, Briggs has been in discussion with his German counterparts as they explore the possibility of sharing rounds.
Recent developments have dealt a blow to that plan; however it is not dead yet. “Ideally,” says Briggs, “there would still be British and German championships, but we would share races. I would like a situation where we shared grids for four UK and four German events, but that could be a five-to-three split if needs be.”
It’s a daunting task for both categories as they attempt to soak up drivers from the European market. “Drivers don’t come to the UK anymore from entry-level, they go to Europe and Formula Renault, where they can race of international tracks,” Briggs notes, before adding finally, “We have to capture that.”
The series has a huge job ahead if it is stay afloat and Briggs is determined to help steer the ship in the right direction.
It is not the most enviable of tasks.