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New Formula 4 championship from BRDC and MSV in 2013
12th September 2012, 10:02 at 10:02 am #132072
Another new single-seater championship has been announced, backed by the British Racing Drivers’ Club and Jonathan Palmer’s MotorSport Vision.
The series aims to be a cost-effective first rung on the ladder for aspiring drivers. The series organisers say a season will cost from £35,000 for private entrants up to £70,000 for fully-fledged teams:
BRDC Formula 4 will see identical cars built around a chassis designed by the RFR company now headed by Ralph Firman, who founded and ran the legendary Van Diemen operation. Latest technology spaceframe construction will provide the optimal balance of strength, low cost and ease of repair, and the chassis will meet the latest 2012 FIA safety standards and feature front and rear wings.
The cars, which will be known as MSV F4-013, will be powered by the cost effective and proven 2 litre Ford Duratec engine, developing 175bhp and featuring a Cosworth engine management system. The gearbox will be more sophisticated than any previous car at this level, being a 6 speed Sadev transmission incorporating paddle shift. Cosworth will also supply the gearbox control system. The cars will run on slick and wet compound tyres provided by Yokohama.
Could this be a potential replacement for Formula Renault 2.0, whose British series was cancelled this year? Full press release here:12th September 2012, 10:10 at 10:10 am #210194
Another feeder series?
That’s exactly what the junior categories need right now.12th September 2012, 10:39 at 10:39 am #210195
I honestly have to question the wisdom of launching another junior category. Motorsport is in a position where the major blue riband events are struggling to attract sponsors, teams and crowds. While for f1, you can argue that it’s affected by fom’s greed, the reality is that sponsorship is thin on the ground, and manufacturers don’t have the spare cash or the business justification for running racing teams.
So where is the money going to come from? who is going to enter a team? Who is going to drive?
More important, who is going to watch? Britain is a great supporter of Motorsport, yet nobody can claim with a straight face that these junior events are packed out. Whether they deserve to be, or the quality of the racing isn’t an issue, the issue is that the crowds aren’t coming to the existing events. How is adding another one going to help?
I am more and more of the opinion that many of the lower series exist not because of demand, but because there are a bunch of people who want to race but can’t get into an existing category. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t make for a viable offering to the public and sponsors.
While it’s true that in the days where cars were bolted together by slapdash slackers in British Leyland, or designed on the back of a fag packet in half an hour, car makers could benefit from the professional expertise of a race team, that’s no longer the case.
Manufacturers nowadays spend billions developing cars using much of the technology and equipment f1 teams do.
Far cheaper and more efficient to use a race team like Williams or McLaren as consultants for known technology gaps.12th September 2012, 10:41 at 10:41 am #210196
damn phone. the last two paragraphs should be further up. Apologies if the train of thought is messed up?12th September 2012, 10:53 at 10:53 am #210197
“More important, who is going to watch? Britain is a great supporter of Motorsport, yet nobody can claim with a straight face that these junior events are packed out. Whether they deserve to be, or the quality of the racing isn’t an issue, the issue is that the crowds aren’t coming to the existing events. How is adding another one going to help?”
I don’t think any of this matters. Sport doesn’t need much of an audience- as long as there’s enough of one to keep it financially viable. Think about the multitude of divisions in just about any sport- tiny local football teams don’t pull in big crowds, and they don’t need to. They exist more for the athletes than for people who might want to watch.12th September 2012, 12:11 at 12:11 pm #210198
This looks more like a Formula Renault 2.0 replacement, although in it’s final year (2011) that had a very small grid.
It’s Formula Renault BARC that this new Formula 4 championship is going to be competing for entries with. It’ll be interesting to see if drivers think this new championship is worth a punt, Formula 2 has hardly been a huge hit after all.12th September 2012, 14:48 at 2:48 pm #210199
The FIA or whoever needs to have a serious look at all the junior categories and descide who needs culling, merging and making more affordable.
I fully see and support the idea of a formula in which drivers can get into, which isnt dictated by how much sponsorship you have, as opposed to talent. Its a step in the right direction, but its dangerous as there are so many junior categories already and it might just get swallowed up.12th September 2012, 16:07 at 4:07 pm #210200
Would i be wrong to say £70,000 a season for a team is a steal of a price in racing terms at the moment?12th September 2012, 16:21 at 4:21 pm #210201
70 Grand looks ruddy cheap if you ask me, and the apprent costs involved look reasonable compared to a few other feeder series (im looking at you GP2/3) Although looking at the costs on the F4 website, its a tad more then that when you add it all up.
Initial capital cost –
New MSV F4-013 car complete less engine £29,750
Annual running costs –
Engine serviced lease for a season/5000 miles £4,500
Championship registration fee £650
Race event entry fee £550
Yokohama slick and wet tyres per set £540
Mandatory fuel will be from each circuit pumps at standard prices.
All spare parts will be very competitively priced.
The running cost for the full championship is expected to range from £30,000 to £40,000 for a private entrant to £60,000 to £70,000 for a professional team.12th September 2012, 16:48 at 4:48 pm #210202
I don’t think any of this matters. Sport doesn’t need much of an audience- as long as there’s enough of one to keep it financially viable. Think about the multitude of divisions in just about any sport- tiny local football teams don’t pull in big crowds, and they don’t need to. They exist more for the athletes than for people who might want to watch.
But that’s my point. Who’s watching this series? Who’s doing media coverage of it? This isn’t equivalent to non-league football clubs, where everyone turns up on their day off, plays for free and the cost is negligible.
Sport in general doesn’t have to demand big audiences for lower leagues, but that’s because the barriers to entry are generally low, or the sportsmen can for the most part fund it out of their own pocket with relative ease. Motorsport isn’t like that. A sunday league football team needs 22 players, a few subs, and 3 match officials. Everyone can turn up in kit they bought in a normal shop and it costs nothing.
Motorsport requires miles of maintained track, dedicated marshals, fire and ambulance service, machinery, mechanics, ambulance etc. 70 grand is cheap for what you’re getting in F4, but it’s still a lot of money to get from *somewhere*. Where will entrants get it? They’re fighting for a dwindling pot of sponsorship with how many other “junior” formulas? How many tickets does the track need to sell? Where does it all add up?
I’d argue that it might add up for a smaller number of formulas, but I’m not convinced this is a good move. Get better, more busy race weekends, where sponsors get more value for money, and punters are better served with minor luxuries like toilets, warmth, food and shelter from the rain and we’ll have a healthier feeder system and racing ecosphere.
Bolting on another category for every 10 drivers or teams who can’t get it together in another series isn’t an answer which is financially viable.12th September 2012, 17:05 at 5:05 pm #210203
@hairs apparently MotorsTV will be showing the races on its tv channel. Thats the UK coverage anyway, and it will be the supporting race at the DTM race at Brands (Makes sense as its Palmers gig) and will run with British F3/GT at Snetterton. Thats what ive gathered from their site.
I think the whole idea of the cost being as low, is that sponsorship is less vital in maintaining the calender and the teams and opening it up.
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