The COVID-19 pandemic has had a far-reaching economic impact on just about everyone around the globe, and Formula One’s feeder series, Formula 2 and Formula 3, are already looking ahead to 2021 to determine how to make structural changes that will help reduce the financial struggle of racing. And a big part of that comes down to altering the weekend format.
The FIA has proposed that, instead of including both Formula 2 and Formula 3 races during a standard F1 weekend, only one series would serve as the opener for F1. As a result, the series would contest three races per weekend instead of two.
This change largely comes via the belief that teams are going to be struggling financially heading into 2021. Many teams contest both F2 and F3. Separating the series allows for teams to consolidate personnel and resources while also ensuring that both have robust racing schedules.
Should this plan be implemented, F2 would race at eight tracks—four in Europe and four elsewhere—instead of its current 12. As a result, it would contest 24 races in 2021, just like it was intended to in 2020.
F3 would actually contest more races in 2021 than was supposed to in 2020. It will likely run on seven race weekends, five in Europe and two elsewhere. So, it’ll have 21 races instead of its current 18.
This is presuming that the race season schedule will be similar to that initially planned for 2020, which F1 CEO Chase Carey has been hinting at.
As someone who has had the joy of attending some European events that featured both feeder series, it’s admittedly a bit disappointing to know that F2 and F3 won’t be taking place on the same weekends. That was part of what appealed to me—I wanted to see the potential upcoming talent in action.
From a practical perspective, though, splitting the two makes complete sense for the longevity of the series, especially considering the fact that nine of the 11 F2 teams also contest F3 races.