Twin visits to the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, outings at European Formula 1 venues Magny-Cours, Hockenheim and Spa-Francorchamps and a return to Britain's fastest track, Thruxton, are amongst the highlights of the provisional calendar for the 2010 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series, announced today.
The schedule for Britain's premier single-seater championship – which in 2010 expands to 30 races, with three at each of its ten meetings – is set to underline its status as the world's leading training ground for F1 stars of the future.
“The proposed calendar is the best that the championship has ever enjoyed,” enthused Bernadette Fitzsimons, general manager of promoter SRO Motorsports Group. “We are particularly pleased that both our visits to Silverstone will be on the Grand Prix circuit, and that 50 per cent of the races will take place on full grand prix circuits. It's great also to be returning to Thruxton after a year's absence – it's a favourite for teams and drivers, as well as for spectators.”
The championship will get underway over the Easter weekend at Oulton Park alongside the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, with which it will similarly share the bill at Snetterton, Rockingham, Brands Hatch and Silverstone in August. The Snetterton date has switched to late August, a month later than previously envisaged.
British F3 is scheduled to join the FIA GT World Championship at Silverstone in May and at Spa-Francorchamps, alongside the prestigious Spa 24 Hours. The latter date is one of three overseas events aimed at maintaining the series' status as an international proving ground for young talent like 2008 champion and 2009 F1 rookie Jaime Alguersuari and 2009 title-winner Daniel Ricciardo, who accelerated straight into an F1 testing role with Red Bull Racing off the back of his success.
“It all sounds very good,” remarked 18-year-old Fortec Motorsports star Oli Webb. “I am delighted that we are starting at Oulton because that's my home circuit and one of my favourites – very much a drivers' track in the same way as Spa is. It's great also to be visiting Spa, Hockenheim, Magny Cours and Silverstone GP, because they are big grand prix tracks. Thruxton is a very different type of place, very high-speed and it will be a big challenge for the teams.”
“You can't argue with five out of the ten meetings taking place on proper grand prix circuits,” concurred T-Sport boss Russell Eacott. “It's a great calendar, and the other circuits will provide great racing, too, especially Thruxton – three races there in a weekend will make for an exciting meeting, that's for sure!”
Retaining its title sponsorship deal with US-based Cooper Tires, British F3 will also benefit in 2010 from backing from Sunoco Racing Fuels, Anglo American Oil Company and Mirror.co.uk, as well as extensive terrestrial TV coverage in the UK via Channel 4 and across Europe on the Motors satellite channel.
Provisional 2010 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series Calendar:
Oulton Park, with British GT
Silverstone GP, with FIA GT World Championship
Hockenheim, Germany, with ADAC GT Masters
Rockingham, with British GT
Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, with FIA GT World Championship
Silverstone GP, with British GT
Snetterton, with British GT
Brands Hatch GP, with British GT