One of Formula 3’s biggest selling points is that its rulebook is one of the few to still possess “open” technical regulations.
Although what one can do with the cars is highly restricted, that does not mean the teams are wholly bound following the final chassis homologation, unlike in GP2 or Renault World Series for example. In those categories (and numerous others), teams are forced to run specification cars with identical chassis, tyre and engine packages.
There are those who believe this evens out championships and make it fairer for the drivers, while at the same time, a great many will disagree, arguing that spec championships play too well toward teams with the best engineers and facilities. That such a level playing field is rarely achieved by spec championships might lend one to agree with the naysayers, but as with with everything in motorsport, the complexities of how teams and drivers perform run far deeper than that.
Those who back championships with open regulations will argue that it allows engineers and designers to work in an environment that is at least in line with the top level of motorsport, even if it is to a very limited degree. Also they might opine that developing cars is what helps nurture drivers as they move toward categories, like Formula One or LMP1; categories in which cars never stay the same.
Detractors will point toward growing costs and that drivers don’t notice the alterations enough to comment on them or offer up good enough information to make them worthwhile.
Regardless, these open regulations are to stay in Formula 3 and may become a key part of the returning FIA Formula 2 when that eventually launches with a new car in 2017.
Meanwhile, at the Red Bull Ring a few weekends ago, both Carlin and Prema Powerteam turned up with bargeboards featuring rivets – all with the aim of sculpting nuanced airflow toward the rear of the Dallara.
Money well spent or an unnecessary throw away? Naturally it depends whether you are a winner or a loser.