The progression of drivers from karting to the “pinnacle” of Formula 1 needs a major re-tooling, the FIA’s Single Seater Commission president Gerhard Berger says in an FIA magazine. He pointed specifically at F3.
I couldn’t find a link to the magazine, InMotion; I’ll admit I didn’t spend too many minutes searching. But that’s what Autosport is for!
“The system no longer does what it is supposed to do, which is to give a highly talented driver a CV he can use to progress through to Formula 1,” Berger said. “There are too many championships out there and attention between them is split too much. People are complaining that the best drivers are now all spread out so you cannot look at British Formula 3, for example, and say that [a driver] is certain to get to Formula 1.
“The most urgent thing is to sort out F3. For me this has always been the most important class for young drivers. This is where you can really see for the first time how much talent someone has.
“Nowadays there are so many championships, even inside Formula 3 itself, [so] the first thing I did was to introduce a new FIA European Formula 3 Championship. This is not popular with everyone because there are a lot of vested interests, but I don’t care about that. We need to start with a new platform and that is the new championship.
“It is coming together nicely. It is important now to build strong national championships with the same regulations. That is the project at the moment and it will take a little time.”
The problems aren’t limited to F3, however: “It’s a similar problem at the next level up, with Formula 2, GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5.
“You don’t want to dictate a new formula, you simply want to create a better formula, so the question is what does that mean? Firstly, you need clever regulations. Then you need to bring the costs down.
“We should have one formula with one regulation. OK, if a country does not have a strong enough championship then it could join with another, or there can be some kind of final between the top guys in the different national series, but what we have to do is break it all down.”
Berger sees need for change along the whole spectrum of the “driver ladder,” right down to the start in karting.
“We are missing something between karts and Formula 3 – call it Formula 4, if you will. We are working on this. It mustn’t be too complex, but it should be a challenge, so that they can learn. That’s the third project.”
Thoughts, folks? I feel like we talk a lot about whether younger drivers have the chance to prove themselves, but often we focus on their doing so in F1. (And, as Todd’s recent post suggests, a lot of them come and go pretty quickly, although perhaps this season there has been a bit of shift in those winds with Maldonado, Kobayashi, Hulkenberg, di Resta and Perez.)