SEPTEMBER 20, 2002
The return of European Formula 3
There are rumors that the international automobile federation will soon announce the return of an FIA-backed European Formula 3 Championship. European Formula 3 was cancelled at the end of 1984 and part of the move to create Formula 3000 and to strengthen the national racing series. Today only the British and German F3 series are very strong and next year things will become somewhat confused as the Germans have sold their championship to the French. No-one is quite sure what the result of this will be but it is not expected that many of the German teams will actually go racing in France and instead there is a push for an international series which would attract drivers and teams from all nations.
The European Formula 3 Championship first began in 1975 and in the years that followed helped some names towards successful Formula 1 careers, including Ricardo Patrese, Nelson Piquet, Teo Fabi, Alain Prost, Thierry Boutsen, Michele Alboreto, Philippe Alliot, Emanuele Pirro, Pierluigi Martini, Johnny Dumfries, Gerhard Berger and Ivan Capelli.
It seems that the FIA's view of the feeder championships is now that there should be a strong European F3 presence and then an international F3000 series supporting F1 races. There is talk that it will soon be mandatory for F1 drivers to either have competed successfully in the International F3000 series or having won in F3. This has led to a swell of interest in F3000 with several European F3000 series runners looking at international programs in 2003 and even some of the German F3 teams planning to move up. One of these is believed to be Bertram Schafer, who runs a trio of Red Bull-sponsored cars in German F3 but is tipped to be looking to try to get the Red Bull money in F3000. The current Red Bull Junior Team, owned by Helmut Marko, is up for sale.
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