The British Formula Three Championship is an international motor racing series that takes place primarily in the United Kingdom with a small number of events in mainland Europe. It is a junior-level feeder formula that uses small single seater Formula Three chassis. Its current official title is the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series. Notable former champions include Jim Clark, Nelson Piquet, Mika Häkkinen, Ayrton Senna, Emerson Fittipaldi, Rubens Barrichello and Sir Jackie Stewart.
The first Formula Three championship to take place in the UK was the Autosport F3 championship held in 1951, which was won by Eric Brandon. By 1954, it had evolved into a national-level series and was organised by the British Racing and Sports Car Club (BRSCC). This was the 500cc period of Formula Three, which was active in the UK and other countries until 1959, at which point Formula Three was adapted into Formula Junior. In this period, there were often two or three series running concurrently and a single national series had yet to be firmly established. The FIA reintroduced Formula Three in 1964, and there were two F3 championships held in the UK that year, won by Jackie Stewart and Rodney Banting. This was not the last occasion of two or more F3 championships running concurrently in the post-1964 era: from 1970 to 1973, there were three regional series (the Lombard North, John Player, and Forward Trust championships) and there were normally two series between then and 1978. In 1984, the series adopted a B class for competitors with older chassis, which is now known as the National class. From 2011 the National class will be renamed Rookie Championship. In 2011 Formula Three in the United Kingdom celebrated its 60th anniversary season.
Like most Formula Three championships, competitors in British F3 are permitted to use any eligible chassis. The minimum and maximum age of a chassis specification is dictated by the class in which its driver competes: International class entrants must use a chassis that meets the FIA's technical regulations as applicable to 2009, while National class entrants are restricted to cars that meet the 2007 FIA regulations. In practice, this means that class A cars must have been designed for the current three-year model cycle and class B cars must date from the previous cycle.
Dallara has been dominant since the mid-1990s – in both results and numbers – but the chassis of some of its main competitors have been adopted in small numbers. The Lola B06/30 and the Mygale M07/F3 are each represented by two-car teams and the older Dome F106 is used by a two-car team in the Scholarship class. In the interests of parity, identical tyres are supplied by Cooper Tire.
Three engine manufacturers – AMG-Mercedes (tuned by H.W.A), Volkswagen and Mugen-Honda (tuned by Neil Brown Engineering) – are currently represented on a full-time basis. The Opel-Spiess was used by Swiss Racing Team in a one-off appearance at Monza only. The regulations demand that all class B entrants must use Mugen-Hondas of an identical specification, prepared and sealed by Neil Brown Engineering Limited.
All entrants in the series must use control tyres from a single supplier. Since 1982, these have been manufactured by Avon Tyres, which from the 2009 season onwards were re-branded as Cooper Tires, as Cooper became the championship's official title sponsor. The company recently signed an extension until the end of 2014. Tyres are limited to 60 sets per season per team and three sets of tyres per weekend per team. Two sets of wet-weather tyres are allowed per race weekend, but their use is allowed in the case of a ‘Wet Race’ only. Tyres are to be filled with environmental air or nitrogen; chemical or mechanical treatment is prohibited. Tyre dimensions: 180/550 R 13 front, 240/570 R 13 rear. Tyre heaters are not allowed.
- Chassis: Dallara F308, Lola B06/30, Dome F106 and Mygale M07/F3 Carbon Fibre sandwich with AL/Nomex honeycomb.
- Engine: Mugen-Honda, Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz.
- Engine Displacement: Template:Convert/L (122 in³) DOHC Inline-4.
- Gearbox: 6 Speed manual paddle shift gearbox (must have reverse).
- Weight: Template:Convert/kg including driver and ballast.
- Power: 210 bhp @ 6000rpm (approx).
- Fuel: Sunoco 100 RON, no refuelling.
- Fuel tank: Single FT3 homologated rubber safety tank.
- Fuel Delivery: Fuel injection.
- Aspiration: Naturally aspirated.
- Length: 4188 mm.
- Height: 950 mm.
- Width: 1825 mm (72.8") maximum.
- Wheelbase: 2000 mm (78.75") minimum.
- Track: 1200 mm (47") minimum.
- Steering: 2-wheel steering with rack and pinion, power-steering.
- Drivetrain: 2WD only.
- Brakes: Performance Friction Brakes.
- Tires: Cooper Tires limited to 60 sets of tyres per season per team. Three sets of tyres per weekend per team. Two sets of wet-weather tyres per race weekend, but their use is allowed in the case of a ‘Wet Race’ only. Tyres to be filled with environmental air or nitrogen; chemical or mechanical treatment is prohibited. Tyre dimensions: 180/550 R 13 front, 240/570 R 13 rear. Tyre heaters are not allowed.
- Springs: Koni.
- Wheel rims: ATS maximum width 11.5", maximum Ø 13".
- Probitings: Active suspension, Telemetry, and Traction Control.
The championship comprises ten rounds, each with three races. The scoring system arranged as follows:
|Race 1 & 3||25||18||15||12||10||8||6||4||2||1|
A bonus point is awarded for the fastest race lap in each class for all three races. The event schedule takes place over three days (normally Friday to Sunday) with testing or free practice sessions on the first day, a 30' qualifying session and race 1 of 30' on the second day. The third day has two races, race 2 of 20' and race 3 of 40'. The qualifying session determines the starting order for races 1 and 3, where the driver's fastest time determines the grid for race 3, and the second fastest time the grid for race 1.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 British F3 Champions From motorsportsetc.com. Retrieved on 4 September 2007.
- ↑ Formula 3 Story From clarinet.fi. Retrieved 5 September 2007.
- ↑ British F3 Champions From clarinet.fi. Retrieved 5 September 2007.
- ↑ 2007 British F3 Series Sporting Regulations: Article 4.2 pp.14
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 2007 Entry List From speedsportmag.com. Retrieved 5 September 2007.
- ↑ 2007 British F3 Series Sporting Regulations: Article 4.5 pp.15