The Cooper Tires British F3 International Series is to feature an exciting new race and qualifying format for 2010, as well as a revised points system, to accommodate the expansion from 20 to 30 races.
Draft sporting regulations, just published and yet to be rubber-stamped by the FIA, propose differing lengths for the three races to be held during the course of each Formula 3 weekend. The first race will follow a single 30-minute qualifying session on the first public day of each meeting, and will run to the half-hour format seen in previous seasons.
On day two, a 20-minute 'half points' sprint featuring a 'semi-reverse' grid will open proceedings. The meeting will be brought to a thrilling conclusion by a 40-minute feature race designed to place the emphasis on driver stamina, racecraft and mechanical reliability.
"This is the single biggest change to the format of British Formula 3 since the twin-race concept was introduced in the 1990s," said Bernadette Fitzsimons, general manager of championship promoter SRO Motorsports Group, "and we are delighted with the initiative - which came from the teams themselves.
"The reverse-grid sprint race will, I am sure, prove a real crowd-pleaser, and it will provide a chance for drivers who might not otherwise come too close to the podium to get up there. And the 40-minute feature race will offer a great chance of success to those drivers who have looked after their machinery and their tyres during the course of the race weekend; it should provide some fascinating results.
"The most important aspect, however, is the additional race start experience that competitors will gain as a result of the expansion to 30 races in one season. It will, I am sure, prove invaluable in their future careers."
The new format in detail is as follows:
A single 30-minute official qualifying session
30-minute duration. Grid established by competitors' second-fastest times in qualifying. Full points awarded, ie 20-15-12-10-8-6-4-3-2-1 to the top 10 in the International and National classes, with an additional point for the fastest race lap in each class
20-minute duration. Grid established by the finishing order of Race 1, with the best-placed cars in reverse order. The Race 1 victor will perform a podium draw to determine where on the grid he will start - anywhere between sixth and 10th. Points for this race will be awarded on a reduced scale: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 to the top 10 in the International and National classes, but there will be an additional two points awarded for the fastest race lap in each class
40-minute duration. Grid established by competitors' fastest times in qualifying. Full points awarded, as per Race 1