Positioning of European open-wheel racing

From my previous post, I have had comments regarding GP3, which as Fletcher points out, has begun to test this week at Paul Ricard.  This makes me think once again about the positioning of this series in the landscape of European open-wheel racing, and the real need for one more category.

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The current plan is for GP3 to replace International Formula Master (IFM), and as I understand this is still the idea.   The problem is that  a 280 HP engine is smack in the middle of F3 territory, for the same price – and way underpowered compared to WSR which is slightly more expensive in today’s market.

The key issue is that F3 is able to compete with WSR because of its heritage and clear track record as a stepping stone for future racing stars.  Never mind that its engine spits out only 210 HP, F3 is a classic and will remain active, most notably in its Euroseries format.    The same cannot be said for GP3.   The heritage is not there, the engines are upgrades from the Eurocup 2.0 powerplants and the overall concept is generally uninspiring to me.  If I was a 18 year-old coming from Formula BMW with €600k in my pocket, I would go to the F3 Euroseries.

So, the question is… who will race in GP3?  Will next year’s Jules Bianchi, Roberto Merhi and Valteri Bottas prefer GP3 just because it races with the F1 circus?  Can GP3 pull out a €600k per year championship with less than 300 HP?  More details are to be announced regarding the budget, so let’s give Bruno and his boys the benefit of the doubt and hope they try and position GP3 where it should be – at €300 to €400k levels.

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8 Responses to Positioning of European open-wheel racing

  1. peralta says:

    There is a strong possibility that, although it is a brand new series, it does have the advantage of racing at all the grand prix tracks and gets them ready for their move up to GP2 possibly with the same team. So it can do very well. However there are not enough drivers with proper funding to compete in all these championships. Sure IFM will be replaced but I also think one or two will have to disappear. F2 comes to mind because it resembles to much like Palmer Audi and it wont be taken seriously by the F1 fraternity. BF3 despite it’s history doesn’t really race in any GP circuits and can’t even support the British GP. Lately Euro F3 champions have had more opportunities then British F3 champions and drivers have chosen that route. Time will tell if GP3 will succeed. It really comes down to how many teams sign up for the series. Anyway all roads lead to GP2 and that’s what counts. Another question to ponder is if whether it is economically profitable for existing GP2 teams to run in GP3.

  2. AVRE says:

    I don’t really agree with the horse power way to discuss you took.
    true F3ES and BF3 have only around 210HP but due to a air restrictor that limit this power, but not the torque!
    So sure the IFM have more horse power but make the same laptime at the end.
    So perhaeps the circle is more tight than you think!

    About Bianchi, he has no interest to do something else than GP2 next year!
    Bottas and Merhi are in strong link with Mercedes, they will for sure not run in GP3!

    I completly agree the strange level of cost announce by GP3 (a single make series with test restriction can’t be so expensive compare to F3ES and there wind tunnel programme and completly open regulation!)

  3. sauber11 says:

    Have to say some things:
    1) formula master has only 250 hp , less than gp3. Also f.master has same speed as formula2 and much faster than formula3 car due to progressive aerodynamic.
    2)I think f-bmw(especially euro one) cost more and has same price as british formula3. And i didnt know that euro formula3 cost that much, thought it has almost same price as british one, wow. Anyway…
    3) If I was a 18 year-old coming from Formula BMW with €600k in my pocket(c)
    i wouldnt go to F3ES because as 2009 shows its too big step(Gutierrez,Tambay,Geronimi,Wittmann scored 5 points so far, only first one did). Maybe what Alexander Rossi did( moved to f.master and already got win there) is a better(smaller) step. Or a british f3. And i cant really compare gp3 with f3es if they have same price. Gp3 is faster and technically closer to gp2 than f3es? Yes! Gp3 will get more press attention than f3es now does? I guess yes. So why you would prefer euroseries to gp3? Only if you are a mercedes or Vw/audi driver and planing to step up DTM.

  4. Karim says:

    I read that F3 ES cost is from 800 000 to 850 000 €.

    So if GP3 is at 600 000 € it could be a quite good operation.

    GP3 could be a good alternative to F3 Euroseries.

    I would compare the situtaion of GP2 and GP3 like 125cc and Moto GP2.

    The main problem for me is the race format.

    I think that have to sack race two and to put race1 the sunday morning like in Moto GP.

    I think that they should made a schedule like that:

    8:30:Porsche Supercup race
    9:45:Formula BMW race
    10:20:GP3 race(40 min)
    11:15;GP2 race (80 min race)

    For me it could be a better deal for TV like Rai,Sexta,TF1/Eurosport France,BBC because rarely there are sports events the morning.

    • gp2 insider says:

      Interesting proposal. I agree with your F1 – MotoGP comparison and wonder if that format would be successful as well. It sure sounds logical.

  5. Fletcher says:

    I heard from the GP2 paddock in Silverstone that GP3 could do well because drivers can race at race tracks where F1 race at for the same price of F3 and cheaper than WSR. Drivers would rather choose to do GP3 after a season of F3 or a lower formula than go to GP2 because they can learn the circuits at a cheaper price. With that logic you can assume that F2 ( if GP3 can lower its budget) F3 and maybe even WSR would eventually die off. Drivers would rather be seeing in an F1 race meeting then somewhere in Snetterton or Norisring or some other God forsaken racetrack no one cares about. However GP3 has to be promoted the right way and make it cost effective for teams to make this a success. I don’t know if this means less drivers in GP2. We shall see.

  6. Go_For_Pole says:

    600k is most certainly not cheaper than most of the deals done this year WSR.

  7. Seppefan says:

    Euro3000 at around Euro 400,000 and 450bhp and a GP2 Asia drive for the winner seems to have been left off your chart. Has some good drivers this year as well.

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