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The Formula Three Euroseries is a European-based junior single seater formula for Formula Three chassis that was launched (in its current form) in 2003. The Formula Three category, including this championship, is part of the established career ladder up which European drivers progress to the Formula One world championship, the highest form of single seater racing defined by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), motorsport's wold governing body. Lewis Hamilton, a Formula One driver for the McLaren team in 2007, won the Euroseries drivers' title in 2005.

BackgroundEdit

The concept of a European F3 championship dates back to 1975, with a five-race series known as the F3 European Cup. Races were held at Monaco, the Nürburgring in Germany, Anderstorp in Sweden, Monza in Italy and Croix-en-Ternois in France. The series title was won by Australian Larry Perkins driving a Ralt-Ford run by Team Cowangie.[1]

In 1976, the Cup evolved into a full-scale, ten-round European F3 Championship, which ran until 1984.[2] Among its champions were notable future Formula One drivers, such as Riccardo Patrese (champion in 1976) Alain Prost (1979), and the late Michele Alboreto (1980).[3] The European Cup returned from 1985 to 1990 as a one-off special event not dissimilar to the Macau Grand Prix. From 1999 to 2002, the European Cup name was re-used to promote the Grand Prix de Pau when that event had returned to Formula Three regulations, at which time it was included as a round of the French F3 Championship until the latter's demise.

Modern eraEdit

InaugurationEdit

The modern-day Formula Three Euroseries was inaugurated in 2003 in a collaboration between two of Europe's national governing bodies for motorsport – the Fédération Française du Sport Automobile (FFSA) in France and the Deutscher Motor Sport Bund (DMSB) in Germany.[4]

The new partnership between the FFSA and DMSB spelled the end of national Formula Three in France with the closure of the French F3 Championship, but Germany's national championship was effectively supplanted to a large extent by the creation of the Recaro Formel 3 Cup, though the DMSB intially attempted to block its creation.[5] This lower-status series was formed by ADAC, the F3V (Germany's Formula Three Association) and a few key German teams (such as Bertram Schäfer Racing) that chose not to participate in the new Euroseries. BSR's owner Bertram Schäfer acts as the series' promoter.[6]

The FFSA and DMSB hold joint responsibility for determining the sporting regulations of the Euroseries. The organisation and promotion of the championship is handled by ITR, which performs the same rôle for the DTM touring car championship.[7]

VenuesEdit

File:Francorchamps01.jpg

The championship consists of ten events, each comprising two races, held at a variety of European circuits. Approximately 50-60% of these events occur at circuits in Germany, while the other events are held in various countries, including Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium and Spain. Notable venues have included Pau and Le Mans in France; Brands Hatch in Britain; Circuit de Catalunya in Spain; Estoril in Portugal; Adria in Italy; and Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

From 2004 onwards, the Ultimate Masters of Formula 3, held at Zandvoort in the Netherlands, was included as a round of the championship. In 2005, the series visited Monaco as a Grand Prix support event, which was the first Formula Three event at Monaco since 1997.[8] This famous motor-racing venue has long-standing associations with Formula Three.

Technical and sporting regulationsEdit

The FFSA and DMSB created the new championship around the FIA-sanctioned[9] F3 formula of multiple chassis builders and production-based 4-cylinder 2-litre engines with control supplies of tyres and fuel. As in most F3 championships, the Italian company Dallara is the dominant chassis supplier. It was originally planned to restrict entry to two-car teams,[10] but this requirement was later relaxed. In most Formula Three championships, multiple and single-car entries are not uncommon.

Some Formula Three championships, such as the British F3 Championship, use a two-tier system to provide an opportunity for low-budget teams and drivers to compete with out-dated chassis specifications. In an effort to minimise costs, Formula Three chassis regulations permit major updates only periodically, with annual updates restricted to minor improvements.[11]

When the Euroseries was launched, restrictions were effectively placed on the teams' choice of chassis specification by opting not to create a lower-tier championship class, and all entrants used the two most recent available specifications.

The Drivers' Trophy has since been introduced to provide a classification system and class title for drivers using chassis of between two and four years old. Eligibility for this class is restricted to drivers who are not more than 22 years old at the start of the season. There is also a rookie classification system with a Rookie of the Year title.[12]

In 2006, testing was restricted to a maximum of 10 days per driver/car, with no testing at race venues, Consequently, teams and drivers have to make the most of the test sessions during race weekends, which had already been reduced from 90 to 60 minutes in 2005.

Tyre usage is restricted to three sets per car for the entire race weekend. There is no limit on the use of wet-weather tyres, but only when they are deemed necessary by race officials. As is the case with most racing disciplines outside Formula One, tyre warming devices are not permitted.[13]

An unauthorised engine change during the course of a race weekend invokes a ten-place penalty on the starting grid.[14]

Event scheduleEdit

Each race weekend begins on Friday, with one 60-minute practice session and a qualifying session that decides the starting grid for the first race. There are two races; one of approximately 100-110km on Saturday and one of approximately 70-80km on Sunday.[15] The starting times of each session/race vary slightly according to the event schedule at each venue.

With just one qualifying session, the grid for the second race is determined by the results of Race 1. The top eight positions are reversed, giving pole position to the 8th-placed finisher. The single qualifying session and results-based reverse grid system were introduced for the 2006 season: prior to that, the second race had its own qualifying session (with a bonus point for pole position).[16] Drivers who fail to finish the first race occupy the remaining grid positions for Race 2 in the order in which they retired.

Scoring systemEdit

In the first race of the weekend, points are awarded to the top eight finishers, with 10 points for a win. One bonus point is awarded for the fastest qualifying time. In addition to the change to a single qualifying session, the points system for the shorter second race was revised in 2006: rather than award full points, it now awards points to the top six finishers, with only six points for a win.[17]

F3 Euroseries points system (2006 onwards)
 1st   2nd   3rd   4th   5th   6th   7th   8th 
Race 1 10 8 6 5 4 3 2 1
Race 2 6 5 4 3 2 1

Chassis and enginesEdit

Three engine suppliers joined the new championship at its inception: Mercedes-Benz, produced by HWA; Opel, produced by Spiess; and Toyota, produced by TOM's. A limited number of teams have competed with Renault and Mugen-Honda powerplants. In the series' first year, HWA-Mercedes supplied engines for seven entrants from three teams.[18] They included ASM Formule 3, with which it subsequently developed a very successful partnership. Since its first Formula Three championship win with ASM in 2004, Mercedes' success has been influential in its growth in popularity among the Euroseries' teams, and has left Spiess-Opel as the only remaining competition.

When the series began, all entrants took a conservative approach to their choice of chassis supplier and opted for the established Dallara F302/F303.[19] Alternative chassis have been tested and/or raced on occasions, but for a variety of reasons, they have failed to become established. In the opening round of 2004, a pair of Anglo-Japanese Lola-Dome F106/03 chassis were entered by Coloni Motorsport before the team returned to the Italian F3 Championship.[20] The two chassis builders later parted company, with Lola developing the B05/30 and Dome continuing with the F106. Dome announced its intention to promote its product to Euroseries teams in 2005,[21] though it has not been raced in the series to date. In February 2005, AM-Holzer Rennsport announced its intention to enter a new F3 chassis from the French constructor Mygale – the 05F3.[22] However, Holzer returned to the Dallara F305 by the start of the season.

Meanwhile, the experienced French team Signature branched out into chassis design and developed the SLC. A single SLC-Opel was driven by Fabio Carbone alongside three Dallara F305s in Signature's four-car line-up, but it was not quite as competitive as the team had expected and it returned to an all-Dallara line-up in 2006.[23]

Updated versions of the Lola, Mygale and SLC have since competed in the Recaro F3 Cup.[24]

Drivers and teamsEdit

File:P1000588b.jpg

The profile of the F3 Euroseries has fostered a very multi-national entry list, with approximately 12 to 15 countries regularly represented. It also attracts the best junior single-seater teams from European countries that include France, Germany, Britain, Italy and Switzerland.

Many Euroseries drivers have graduated to the DTM touring car series and GP2 F1 support series, as well as racing and testing roles in Formula One. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have gained their places in Formula One via championship-winning seasons in GP2. Hamilton's former Euroseries team-mate, All-Japan F3 champion Adrian Sutil, will race for Spyker F1;[25] Sebastian Vettel and Kazuki Nakajima have test driver contracts with BMW-Sauber[26] and Williams;[27] Jamie Green, Bruno Spengler, and Alexandros Margaritis compete in the DTM; and others, such as Alexandre Prémat, have established themselves in GP2.

Championship seasonsEdit

2003 seasonEdit

The inaugural season attracted a strong entry list, comprised of the best teams from the merged French and German championships. The first Euroseries drivers' champion was Ryan Briscoe of Australia, driving a Dallara-Opel F303 run by Prema Powerteam, based in Italy. It was a closely fought season, in which race wins were shared between eight drivers, six teams, and three engine manufacturers.[28] Briscoe was, at that time, a protégé of Toyota's driver development program and had already tested one of its Formula One cars at the age of 20.[29] Two of the drivers in the 2003 championship – Robert Kubica and Nico Rosberg – have both competed in Formula One.

2004 seasonEdit

Full article: 2004 F3 Euroseries season.

Briscoe's would be the only championship title to date for a driver using an Opel-powered car, as the Mercedes-backed ASM Formule 3 rose to prominence in 2004. Its first drivers' title was provided by Jamie Green of Great Britain. He began to dominate the championship as the season progressed, eventually achieving seven race wins and a further seven podium finishes. He graduated to the DTM with the backing of Mercedes, and has since established himself in its factory team.

2005 seasonEdit

Full article: 2005 F3 Euroseries season.

ASM and Mercedes further improved on their performances of the previous season. The championship was dominated by Britain's Lewis Hamilton, who had been a protégé of the McLaren-Mercedes Formula One team. He achieved a record-setting 15 race wins from 20 starts, thirteen pole positions and ten fastest laps. Hamilton graduated to GP2, winning that championship in his rookie year, and now holds an enviable position as a Formula One driver with McLaren.[30] Also competing in 2005 was BMW-Sauber's test driver Sebastian Vettel, who finished the season as the highest-placed rookie.

2006 seasonEdit

Full article: 2006 F3 Euroseries season.

The status quo remained unchanged in the 2006 championship. For the third year in succession, the teams' title was won by ASM and the champion driver – Paul di Resta – was using one of its Mercedes-powered Dallaras. Sebastian Vettel joined di Resta and two other drivers in ASM's expanded line-up, and finished the year as the championship's runner-up. The use of the reverse-grid system contributed to a much closer championship and a record number of winners, with eleven different drivers reaching the top step of the podium.

F3 Euroseries ChampionsEdit

Key: F/Laps = Fastest Race Laps
Note: One qualifying session per weekend from 2006 onwards

F3 Euroseries Drivers' championship
 Year  Driver  Nationality   Points   Wins    Poles   F/Laps  Team  Chassis/Engine 
2006 Paul di Resta 22px-Flag of the United Kingdom 86 5 5 1 ASM Formule 3  Dallara-Mercedes 
2005  Lewis Hamilton  22px-Flag of the United Kingdom 172 15 13 10 ASM Formule 3 Dallara-Mercedes
2004 Jamie Green 22px-Flag of the United Kingdom 139 7 6 7 ASM Formule 3 Dallara-Mercedes
2003 Ryan Briscoe 25px-AustraliaFLAG 110 8 4 5  Prema Powerteam  Dallara-Opel

See also Edit

ReferencesEdit

  1. "European Formula 3 Championship Archive". http://www.teamdan.com/archive/gen/eurof3.html#1975. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  2. European F3 Champions Retrieved on January 25 2007.
  3. 1976 Results Retrieved on January 25 2007.
  4. "Merging of German and French F3". http://www.motorsport.com/news/article.asp?ID=114401&FS=EUROF3. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  5. "DMSB blocks standalone German F3 series". http://www.autosport-atlas.com/article.asp?id=30341. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  6. "German F3 Cup on schedule for 2004". http://www.autosport-atlas.com/article.asp?id=34903. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  7. "Increased co-operation between Euro F3 and the DTM". http://www.motorsport.com/news/article.asp?ID=142773&FS=EUROF3. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  8. "F3 returns to Monaco for 2005". http://www.autosport-atlas.com/article.asp?id=40654. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  9. "FIA Formula 3 Technical Regulations - PDF". http://www.fia.com/resources/documents/510462567__AppJ_Art_275.pdf. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  10. "F3 Euroseries takes shape". http://www.autosport-atlas.com/article.asp?id=29915. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  11. "FIA Formula 3 Technical Regulations - PDF". http://www.fia.com/resources/documents/510462567__AppJ_Art_275.pdf. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  12. "Comprehensive regulation changes for 2006". http://www.f1prospects.com/2005/12/f3_euroseries_c.html. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  13. "Technical Regulations". http://www.f3euroseries.com/index.php?inhalt=techreg.en&lang=en. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  14. "Motorsport.com". http://www.motorsport.com/news/article.asp?ID=155075&FS=EUROF3. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  15. "Sporting Regulations". http://www.f3euroseries.com/index.php?inhalt=sportreg.en&lang=en. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  16. "2003 regulations". http://www.motorsport.com/news/article.asp?ID=114404&FS=EUROF3. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  17. "Interesting changes for fourth season". http://www.f1prospects.com/2006/03/f3_euro_series__7.html. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  18. "Mercedes increases its F3 attack". http://www.autosport-atlas.com/article.asp?id=21898. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  19. 2003 Entry List Retrieved on January 25 2007.
  20. Vilander denied Italian title Retrieved on January 25 2007.
  21. "Dome looks to Europe in 2005". http://www.autosport-atlas.com/article.asp?id=40418. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  22. "Holzer chooses Mygale". http://www.autosport-atlas.com/article.asp?id=41965. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  23. "Four car Signature line-up". http://www.f1prospects.com/2006/03/f3_euro_series__10.html. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  24. "Record entries for 2006 Recaro Cup". http://www.f1prospects.com/2006/04/german_f3_a_rec.html. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  25. "Sutil lands Spyker race seat". http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/56078. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  26. "Vettel to drive for BMW". http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/55251. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  27. "Williams signs Nakajima". http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/55552. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  28. "2003 Championship Results". http://forix.autosport.com/cp.php?l=0&d=40&r=402003&c=2. Retrieved 2007-01-19. 
  29. "Young Australian Tests for Toyota". http://www.autosport-atlas.com/article.asp?id=17169. Retrieved 2007-01-19. 
  30. "Hamilton will surprise in 2007". http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/56048. Retrieved 2007-01-19. 

External links Edit

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