There was something of an ominous tweet on the official Florida Winter Series page recently that appeared to slip most people by.
Although the website, which had been closed since this year’s Florida Winter Series concluded, reopened a few weeks ago, it now appears that the series may already be no more.
A tweet posted on the Florida Winter Series’ official twitter page announced that, “We are sorry to tell you that FWS will no longer take place in 2015. We apologise for any inconvenience it may cause.”
Earlier this week, I attempted to contact the series media delegate in the hope of garnering further information, but nothing has been forthcoming as of yet. The Florida Winter Series account has been dormant ever since the last tweet, although due to its relative inactivity that may mean nothing at all.
It is an unfortunate development as this year’s running of the series proved rather popular amongst drivers; however it is unknown at this stage what size entry count the Florida Winter Series had been looking to attract for its 2nd edition. The 2015 programme had already shrunk from the four events of this year to three set for January and February.
Had the series gone ahead, it would have faced growing battle for a share of the young driver market, as both the Toyota Racing Series and Formula Gulf 1000 categories ramp up their 2014/15 “winter” activities; however the latter may begin with a rather small entry count. It is also unclear at this stage if the FIA Formula 3 Winter Series in the Middle East will happen.
Although the Florida Winter Series was backed by the Ferrari Driver Academy, rumours emerging from Italy this week told of the new Ferrari management’s relative ambivalence toward its academy programme.
Reflecting upon the Florida Winter Series, Luca Baldisserri – head of the Ferrari Driver Academy – commented recently that, “The Florida Winter Series was a one of a kind experiment. The format of the championship gave those taking part the opportunity to tackle a first hand experience of what would await each of them in the coming season, rather than just a theoretical one and I sure that each one of them benefited from the competition.”
Baldisserri added: “It was a competition that took place on track, but also involved work on driving technique, as well as learning how to read a race and how to concentrate during qualifying.”
Should the Maranello squad choose to close the Ferrari Driver Academy – which includes Raffaele Marciello, Antonio Fuoco, Guanyu Zhou and Lance Stroll in its programme – it would mark a very disappointing change of track from the famed team.