Formula 2 and Formula 3 have announced the first details of a new-look format that will see the two championships once again race together on the same weekends as Formula 1, a move that President and CEO Stefano Domenicali believes will provide “maximum entertainment” for fans.
Here’s your breakdown of everything we know so far and what else is to come…
So F2 and F3 will race at the same events?
Yes. The big news from the announcement is that F2 and F3 will be reunited in 2022. Until Russia, the two had raced exclusively on separate weekends this season following a raft of cost-cutting measures announced at the end of 2020.
F2 and F3 CEO Bruno Michel has said that the change proved “quite efficient” financially, while it also boosted the visibility of the third tier, but there was a strong desire from all parties to bring the three championships back together on a Grand Prix weekend.
The possibility was discussed extensively between Michel, F1 and the FIA and all three agreed to make it happen. The move not only outlines a clear road from F3 up to F1, but crucially, it provides a richer and more exciting spectacle for fans, who will now get to see the greatest young drivers on the planet all compete on the same weekend at the same tracks.
It also means that there will be fewer gaps between rounds in each category, which Michel said has not been ideal for the teams, the drivers or the fans.
What will the race weekends look like?
Put simply, every single round will comprise one free practice session, one qualifying session and two races.
That means that there will be one less race at each round, but the introduction of a third race for 2021 was only made to compensate for the fact that they would each have fewer events than in previous years.
With F2 and F3 back to racing on the same weekends, there will be an increase in the number of rounds per category. So just as much action for you to sink your teeth into, but more evenly spread out across the year.
The Friday format will remain largely the same for both, with one free practice session and one qualifying session per championship. Qualifying will decide the starting grid of Sunday’s race, which will take place before the F1 Grand Prix.
For F2, the starting grid of the sole Saturday race will be determined by reversing the top 10 of Friday’s Qualifying. For F3, it will be a reversal of the top 12.
Do we know which GPs F2 and F3 will race at?
At the moment, no. Every single event will take place alongside Formula 1, but confirmation of how many rounds, and where they will be, won’t be made until after F1 announces its own calendar.
Plenty more details will be confirmed in due course, including the length of the sessions and the races and the number of points available in each. However, Michel has said that Sunday’s race will be the main event, where “the stakes are higher” and the most points are available.
What have the key players said?
It goes without saying that Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1, has played a crucial role in the decision and the Italian was keen to talk up the entertainment that the two add to an F1 event.
“We are pleased to announce the changes to the weekend format for Formula 2 and 3 for next season and I am grateful to Bruno and the teams for their efforts to make this happen,” said Domenicali. “The 2021 season has been hugely exciting and the talent on display in both championships is incredible.
“We want to ensure all our fans get the maximum entertainment during a race weekend and bringing the championships back together in 2022 will provide more racing action during our events and ensure our fans have activity that will keep them engaged and excited.”
As F2 and F3’s CEO, Michel was able to go into more detail about the process, explaining: “In 2021, we introduced a new race weekend format and chose to have F2 and F3 race separately, mainly for costs reasons, and it proved to be quite efficient.
“However, even if sporting-wise that new format worked pretty well, we understood that there was too much time in between each event, which was not ideal for the teams, the drivers and the fans.
“At the same time, there has been a strong will by the different stakeholders to have F1, F2 and F3 racing together again. After careful consideration, together with the FIA, we have decided to change the sporting regulations accordingly.
“This is great news for the fans because we are enhancing the overall F1 Grand Prix weekend experience, having all three championships racing together, at as many events as possible. However, we are keeping our races where the most points are allocated and the stakes are higher on Sundays, ahead of the Formula 1 Grand Prix. It’s worked quite well this year and I believe this has brought a lot of action and entertainment on Sunday morning.”
FIA’s Single-Seater Sporting Director, Michael Masi, was the third key member of the decision-making process and is confident that the changes will benefit all three tiers.
He added: “We have carefully looked at the impact of the changes that were made to the weekend format throughout 2021, and while there have been some notable benefits, the FIA together with the promoters have concluded that a shared billing that showcases Formula 3, Formula 2 and Formula 1 at the same events wherever possible is more beneficial for both competitors and spectators.
“The regulatory process is one of constant evolution and there have been a great number of things that we have learned this year that we will implement throughout the FIA’s single-seater pyramid, which is continuing to go from strength to strength.”