British Formula 3
Win in British Formula 3 and you're marked as a man-to-watch. Around the world, no other race series has produced as many Grand Prix winners and World Champions as British Formula 3. If a race driver matches intention with achievement in this championship, what may have started as a passion becomes a career. Ayrton Senna, the man who redefined Grand Prix speed in the late Eighties and early Nineties, made his name in British Formula 3. Senna won twelve F3 races in 1983. He moved straight to Formula 1 and in 1988, 1990 and 1991 was crowned World Champion.
The cornerstones of good, crowd-pleasing racing are simple enough. All cars should feature similar technical specifications. Formula 3 engines produce similar power, now about 212 bhp. Cars that offer limited aerodynamic downforce, so that winning comes from a combination of the skill of the designer, the skill of the driver and the expertise and professionalism of the team. Rules that make the use of one make of tyre mandatory, to stop teams working independently with manufacturers to eke out a grip advantage.
The 2006 British Formula 3 International features chassis' from Dallara and Lola and engines from Mugen Honda and Mercedes.
These are the ingredients of Formula 3, but ultimately races are won by attention to detail. Cars are adjusted in millimetres, tenths, often hundredths of a second are vital. Top teams spend a month testing through the season; thirty-plus days and thousands of miles pounding round the circuits to shave fractions off a lap time, just to stay competitive. Drivers are coached in the subtleties of car set-up and taught the wisdom of racecraft, so the better to prepare them for Formula 1.
Young race drivers come to this country from all over the world each spring to race in the British Formula 3 Championship. The rewards are obvious: less than six months after winning the 1990 British F3 title, Mika Hakkinen was a Grand Prix driver for Team lotus. British Formula 3 is the ultimate stepping-stone in motor racing, the final confirmation that a driver has what it takes to succeed in the zero-defect world of Formula 1. As a series, British Formula 3 racing is one of the country's leading sporting success stories with a strong international media following.
In today's F1 Championship, a number of the drivers graduated from British F3 including Rubens Barrichello, David Coulthard, Jenson Button, Takuma Sato and Mark Webber.
For more information why not visit www.fota.co.uk.