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Old 18 Jun 2010, 17:15 (Ref:2714381)   #1
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What would you do to below F1 single seaters/The lack of a non-spec series below F1

Two in one thread - another of the "what would you do to", and a continuation of musings about the state of the step below the pinnacle of the pyramid that started in the F1 Forum.

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Originally Posted by duke_toaster View Post
The new owners [of Hispania] inherited a car that had little work on it, it's not their fault. The team running the cars isn't the problem for anyone, it's the car itself - something they can't learn in GP2. Ideally GP2 would be junked and replaced with a multi-chassis (and probably multi-engine) formula so that chassis builders can supply teams in whatever it's called (Formula Two being the logical name), build up experience constructing single seaters and then apply for F1. But that isn't going to happen.
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Originally Posted by chillibowl View Post
costs obviously, but out of curiosity, are there other reasons?
I think it's mainly politics rather than anything else. The FIA are already using the F2 name, but I think this will expire after 2011. GP2 effectively replaced F3000, but now the FIA have no control over GP2. This was a boneheaded move, but a consequence of a previous one. There was no need to get rid of the F2 name for that matter, just introduce Bernie's 747ful of DFVs that he bought of Rameses as a new engine formula.

Costs wouldn't be so much of an issue, there could be a franchise system for chassis and engine suppliers, restricting the number to three or four, some form of balancing system like GT3 and a chassis/engine lease price cap like the Indy Racing League had when it wasn't a spec series. A number of parts could be spec (brakes, wheels, digidash bits). Pillaging the spare parts bin of other series would be a logical step, allowing existing 3.5 litre V8s as they are already used in Formula Nippon, Super GT and LMP2s. Obviously there would be a homologation period of three or four years.

These cars would presumably be used in effectively two series, one in Europe and another elsewhere, presumably the Pacific Rim, either killing off Formula Nippon or reinforcing it, whichever it would look like. To defray the development costs there could even be more than two series if it would be possible.

Such an arrangement would be far better for junior drivers as they would be able to race against different cars - something that they aren't able to do below F1, have more of a role in feedback to a car. It would be good for identifiying good chassis builders. You can't tell if Swift, Panoz or Dallara would do a better job in F1 as they aren't racing cars against each other, and you can't compare lap times. Ideally we'd also get a mass cull of these various spec series that have been springing up and diluting entries for everyone.
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Old 18 Jun 2010, 20:18 (Ref:2714452)   #2
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Firstly, I think GP2 is a fantastic product. The quality of racing is immense, helped by the reverse-grid system ensuring that you have to be able to overtake to win it. Aside from the Red Bull guys, virtually every F1 graduate since 2006 has come from it.

I think one-make junior championships make more sense for drivers. Racing against different machinery is a non-issue to me - there have been plenty of cases in GP2 of a driver having to manage a damaged car or faded tyres, and of racing against guys who are much faster or slower than him. I agree that there are too many identikit one-make championships, why World Series by Renault continues when GP2 is Renault-managed itself, and why GP3 was needed, I have no idea.

I really don't see it as a problem to have backmarker teams running well off the pace. Would the last few seasons have really been devalued by having 6 teams a couple of seconds a lap further back? Were Super Aguri a bad thing? Manufacturing companies such as Panoz and Swift should be encouraged to enter F1 by partnering with successful GP2 teams, possibly with financial incentives.
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Old 19 Jun 2010, 18:20 (Ref:2714756)   #3
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Maybe F1 should stop picking from junior categories, and get new teams from sportscars. You know, like Prodrive, Lola, and Epsilon Euskadi? The teams that should have been in had it not been for Maxalomaniac? The cars are dodgy because the teams were.



EDIT: Actually it's not even the teams, the HRT is only dodgy because they outsourced it to Dallara, and didn't pay them for a month or so, the Lotus isn't even dodgy, really the Virgin car is the one that's been a stinking pile, and that's because Branson is a cheap and wily old codger, and they haven't gone out and gotten any more sponsorships, and therefore cant upgrade the car.
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Old 19 Jun 2010, 19:03 (Ref:2714763)   #4
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Originally Posted by ptclaus98 View Post
Maybe F1 should stop picking from junior categories, and get new teams from sportscars. You know, like Prodrive, Lola, and Epsilon Euskadi? The teams that should have been in had it not been for Maxalomaniac? The cars are dodgy because the teams were.
Lola have had single seater projects in the past (most notably A1GP), IIRC Prodrive haven't actually built their own carbon cars from scratch for that matter - but I feel sure they could if they wanted to. Epsilon Euskadi run a WSR outfit IIRC, but probably can run their own carbon stuff as they had a LMP1 programme.

The issue with selecting a new F1 entry is that the car building is more important than the actual race team. That's why there needs to be some form of second tier in single seater racing - a microcosm of Formula One - to develop and identify new talent in both construction, race teams and driving. Lola, Dallara and Panoz have or do build single seaters. Instead of a load of spec series, we need a way to have these various manufacturers racing each other.
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Old 19 Jun 2010, 19:11 (Ref:2714772)   #5
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Originally Posted by duke_toaster View Post
Lola have had single seater projects in the past (most notably A1GP), IIRC Prodrive haven't actually built their own carbon cars from scratch for that matter - but I feel sure they could if they wanted to. Epsilon Euskadi run a WSR outfit IIRC, but probably can run their own carbon stuff as they had a LMP1 programme.

The issue with selecting a new F1 entry is that the car building is more important than the actual race team. That's why there needs to be some form of second tier in single seater racing - a microcosm of Formula One - to develop and identify new talent in both construction, race teams and driving. Lola, Dallara and Panoz have or do build single seaters. Instead of a load of spec series, we need a way to have these various manufacturers racing each other.
Exactly. Sportscars.
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Old 20 Jun 2010, 18:30 (Ref:2715150)   #6
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A multi-chassis/engine formula is fine, providing those two items have realistic price caps on spare parts & rebuilds as well as initial purchase, to stop the manufacturers profiteering like road car makers.
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Old 20 Jun 2010, 21:19 (Ref:2715234)   #7
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I have no idea what this this thread's all about. At the moment you have:
GP2
Formula Renault 3.5
Formula 2
GP3
Formula 3
so there's actually way too much.

It's my belief that that come 2012 there will be a big shake-up and the driving force will be the FIA. GP2 is not an FIA formula. Formula 2 has been checked out and found wanting. GP3 is full of subsidised drives at the moment, so that's not the future.

The only formula that actually delivers what it should is Formula 3, but it's too expensive. Think 1.6 turbo engines and around 300bhp and you might be on the right lines. The same basic engine could be used in other formulae as well and suddenly it all starts to make sense.
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Old 20 Jun 2010, 22:28 (Ref:2715294)   #8
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Originally Posted by Morris Dancer View Post
A multi-chassis/engine formula is fine, providing those two items have realistic price caps on spare parts & rebuilds as well as initial purchase, to stop the manufacturers profiteering like road car makers.
That's what I'm proposing. The chassis costs and full engine supply service contracts, including spares, would be price capped.

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I have no idea what this this thread's all about. At the moment you have:
GP2; Formula Renault 3.5, Formula 2, GP3, Formula 3
so there's actually way too much.
I agree. There's also too many at the bottom as well. Ideally, once I take a chainsaw to world motorsport (), F3 would have far more of a role. It would do what it says on the tin - be the third highest level in world single seater racing. The one above that would be called, er, Formula Two. But not the current F2. I would consider it a good idea to have world champions in both categories in some form. In F2 it would be easy to have a raceoff between the top finishes of a European series and an Asian series (with expansion room). In F3 they could have that, by making Macau the de jure F3 World Championship. Slight change in weekend format being the top twenty or so selected from the national series getting a bye through to the big show, to be joined by a number of wildcards from the qualifying race.


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It's my belief that that come 2012 there will be a big shake-up and the driving force will be the FIA. GP2 is not an FIA formula. Formula 2 has been checked out and found wanting. GP3 is full of subsidised drives at the moment, so that's not the future.
GP3's probably going to fall over one of these days. The 30 car grid is only reflective of the lack of talent and subsidisation going on (you probably follow it close than me, mind). FIA F2 is equally mickey mouse, it was only set up for political reasons and the grids are going down. GP2 is a wasted opportunity, but that started going wrong when F3000 was made spec. You didn't mention Superleague Formula, I wonder how deep Endemol's involvement in that one is ...

May I ask what you foresee happening in 2012? The FIA taking more control? That could be a good thing.

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The only formula that actually delivers what it should is Formula 3, but it's too expensive. Think 1.6 turbo engines and around 300bhp and you might be on the right lines. The same basic engine could be used in other formulae as well and suddenly it all starts to make sense.
Have to agree. More power is needed in F3 cars, or a downforce cut, or both. Possibly even a chassis and spares price cap, like I have suggested for the second tier.
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Old 20 Jun 2010, 22:39 (Ref:2715306)   #9
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Originally Posted by duke_toaster View Post
there could be a franchise system for chassis and engine suppliers, retricting the number to three or four, some form of balancing system like GT3.
I'm not sure, I understand the point of having a 'free' formula and the introducing equalisation measures. Ultimately, if manufacturers were to develop their car, its pace would be pegged back to that of its rivals. In effect, there would be no difference from a one make formula where all the cars are of the same theoretical performance. I appreciate that this approach has been taken in sportscar racing, however, there is no one make option and there is a need to keep amateur drivers competitive in order to provide decent grids.

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It's my belief that that come 2012 there will be a big shake-up and the driving force will be the FIA. GP2 is not an FIA formula. Formula 2 has been checked out and found wanting. GP3 is full of subsidised drives at the moment, so that's not the future.

The only formula that actually delivers what it should is Formula 3, but it's too expensive.
I agree with your comments regarding F3 and in terms of F2 one has to question whether funding for it will continue in the long term (I like it as a race series, but is not in a position to provide a number of F1 recruits at the moment). As such it is likely that the tier below F1 could end up being GP2/Renault World Series. Below that, GP3 is perhaps not needed and one does wonder what will happen once all the subsidised drives dry up, furthermore, I don't really see where Formula Master fits in the overall scheme. As such, I think an evolution of the existing framework is pehaps a better option than completely reinventing it.
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Old 21 Jun 2010, 01:22 (Ref:2715423)   #10
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Formula Master no longer exists.
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Old 21 Jun 2010, 02:48 (Ref:2715445)   #11
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I would have to disagree with the assesment of GP3 being some kind of playground for paying drivers. There is quite a bit of talent racing there right now and the racing has been fairly impressive. Plus the opportunities of racing in front of F1 have enabled a number of the drivers to make important F1 contacts.

As for the FIA taking an active interest in what is happeing in the junior series I have linked to Jean Todt's statements elsewhere on Ten Tenths that one of his priorities is to take inventory of all the junior development series and then to re-structure them. He has specifically referred to GP2 as a commercial formula and not neccessarily the best formula to lead into F1. In my opinion you will see the FIA get more involved in creating a more structured ladder to F1 which will be FIA policed as opposed to Renault policed.

I would hope that a true F3-F2-F1 ladder system would be the way.

That being said, you cannot deny that both World Series by Renault and GP2/GP3 is a hell of an impressive show, especially compared to the old FIA F3000 and great driver development programs. They are just too aligned with Renault's and Bernie's interests for my tastes.
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Old 21 Jun 2010, 03:07 (Ref:2715447)   #12
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F3 with its current 200hp can't be the third highest open-wheel series. Perhaps less downforce would better develop drivers, but more power would make it move one step above. 200hp (F3), 300hp (GP3), 450hp (FR3.5) and 650hp (GP2) are logical steps, bigger steps wouldn't develop drivers properly.

If names matter to you, then rename FR2.0 to F6, F3 to F5, GP3 to F4, FR3.5 to F2 and GP2 to F2. But I don't believe that would be useful for anything.

About the thread's original theme, no European team (GP2, GP3, FR3.5) wants to race outside F1's ladder because this new category would lack recognition (if anyone did, we would know). That's why A1GP and Superleague use nations and football clubs instead of true team names. To use them would need a strong investment in marketing from organisers.
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Old 21 Jun 2010, 10:10 (Ref:2715545)   #13
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I would have to disagree with the assesment of GP3 being some kind of playground for paying drivers. There is quite a bit of talent racing there right now and the racing has been fairly impressive. Plus the opportunities of racing in front of F1 have enabled a number of the drivers to make important F1 contacts.
I think the point is that most of the grid is being subsidised - yes there's some talent and one or two drivers (Wickens eg) who I would like to see progress, but the championship itself is in a very bad position in terms of finance and therefore is a bit of a playground as you never really know who's payign what etc...

Be good to see the whole thing streamlined but how long have we been talking about it!? Do we think the FIA really has the time, energy, resources and will to sort all the championships into a clear structure!?
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Old 22 Jun 2010, 01:14 (Ref:2716099)   #14
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I really think you're better off pushing this to the back of your brain. Bernie wouldn't allow it, and even if he did, it wouldn't attract any teams. Like I've said, sportscars already has this model, and that's because sportscars is the only venue in which it would work. And even then, it doesn't really work.
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Old 22 Jun 2010, 22:32 (Ref:2716571)   #15
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Be good to see the whole thing streamlined but how long have we been talking about it!? Do we think the FIA really has the time, energy, resources and will to sort all the championships into a clear structure!?
Without saying too much, yes, I do. In time for 2012, all being well.

Don't forget that neither GP2 nor GP3 are official FIA formulae. They were Flavio Briatore creations, run for him by Bruno Michel.

I imagine that F2 has a 3-year deal and I don't see that being renewed, so...
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