DECEMBER 20, 2004
The confused world below F1
The plethora of novice championships surrounding Formula 1 is very confusing - even to the experienced race fan. There was a time when the racing world was neatly structured with Formula 1, Formula 2 and Formula 3. The disappeared in the 1980s when the FIA adopted the illogical concept of Formula 3000 to differentiate the new series from the old F2. Now the FIA has abandoned Formula 3000 and agreed to let a privately-owned (although who knows by whom) championship called GP2 take over the role of being the primary feeder series to Formula 1. This has attracted 12 teams but must now prove its viability by delivering (and maintaining) 24 cars. Most of the teams seem to be dependent on drivers bringing money and there is currently something of a dearth of youngsters wandering around with the kind of money needed for GP2.
DAMS will be running Jose Maria Lopez and Fairuz Fauzy. The new HiTech Piquet Racing will feature Nelson Piquet Jr and probably Xandinho Negrao. The BCN team has signed Venezuela's Ernesto Viso and been testing Nico Rosberg and Rob Austin and will soon test Japan's Hiroki Yoshimoto. Rosberg is expected to sign for either BCN or Racing Engineering. The latter is expected to field the new Spanish Formula 3 Champion Borja Garcia. Campos Motorsport will probably run Sergio Hernandez and may also run Roldan Rodriguez. The team ASM-Todt team is likely to have Alexandre Premat but there is currently no official word on Arden International, Coloni, Super Nova Racing, David Price Racing, Durango and iSport.
GP2 will be seen at most of the European Grands Prix this year but has a decent rival in the new Formula Superfund which has attracted some of the old Formula 3000 teams such as Ma-Con, Astromega and GP Racing plus teams which will switch from the Euro 3000 series. These will probably include John Village Automotive, Euronova and Draco. There will also be a new team called Bradrive. Some of the old Euro 3000 teams cannot afford to move to Formula Superfund and instead plan to run in a series called the 3000 ProSeries. The series will run with the existing cars and will keep the same regulations until the end of 2007. To complicate matters some of the Formula Superfund teams will be running their old cars in this series. In addition to this there is to be a new Italian Formula 3000 Championship which will take in the teams that continue to run older F3000 machinery.
The merger of the Nissan World Series with the Renault V6 Eurocup has created another choice for rising stars. The new World Series by Renault will feature a mixture of the team Nissan and Renault teams which have not moved up to GP2. These include Nissan champions Pons Racing, Carlin Motorsport, Epsilon Euskadi, Draco, Eurointernational, GD Racing, Interwetten, Cram Competition, KTR, Signature and RC Motorsport.
And, of course, we have the new A1 Grand Prix series which will start in September 2005 and will run through the winter of 2005-2006. Many of these cars will be run by teams mentioned above, A1 providing them with a good chance to improve their cash-flow over the winter and (hopefully) bringing new drivers and new money into the sport from countries which traditionally have not had any involvement in the sport.
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