Home Featured Arden confirms rumoured FREC exit as Monolite races to fill seats

Arden confirms rumoured FREC exit as Monolite races to fill seats

by Roger Gascoigne

Photo: FRECA

Arden founder Garry Horner has confirmed to Formula Scout that his team will not race in the Formula Regional European Championship this year.

With the team having not announced any drivers ahead of the first pre-season test at Barcelona on April 2/3, rumours of its departure have recently begun to circulate.

“We didn’t get the right drivers to take part. There’s a big difference between taking part and competing. We decided we’d do lots of other things,” Horner explained to Formula Scout.

The team will instead focus on its GB3 squad, run in co-operation with American outfit Velocity Racing Development, and its first venture into the supporting Formula 4-spec GB4 series.

In addition, Horner also hinted at “some other things [we’ve got] on the cards”, although he would not be drawn on details.

The loss of FREC’s blue-riband event last year was an additional factor behind the decision: “After it came out that it didn’t have Monaco in the championship as well – there’s other things to do.”

He called it “a nice championship”, but said “there’s a time to be it in and a time to be out”.

“We’ve had a change of structure in the team as well, so we took that decision. We entered but now we’ll sit this one out and see what happens.”

Arden raced in the Formula Renault Eurocup for many years, and in 2019 it switched from FR2.0 to FRegional cars. Two years later it merged with FREC, which had been founded in 2019.

There were three FREC podiums for Arden in 2021, and one more came last season. But as results tailed off, Arden struggled to attract top-line drivers and it came 10th in the teams’ standings in 2023.

According to sources in the FREC paddock, intensive efforts by ACI and Alpine, the series’ organisers, to find a replacement team have been unsuccessful.

While Rodin Motorsport’s David Dicker has expressed an interest in taking his team to FREC, he intends to wait for when second-generation FRegional chassis are introduced. FREC is due to switch to a new car in 2025.

KIC Motorsport and Monolite Racing are yet to announce their drivers for the 2024 FREC season, but KIC has confirmed to Formula Scout that all three seats have been filled, with an announcement imminent.

Monolite is still racing against the clock to find the strongest possible driver line-up. Although it scored no points last year, a guesting Nikita Berin did finish a race fifth in one of its cars.

Team principal Rudi Mariotto told Formula Scout: “We are in discussions with a number of talented drivers for 2024. We will unfortunately miss the Barcelona test but plan to join the remaining two tests [at Paul Ricard and Hockenheim] with at least two cars.”

Formula Scout understands that two of those “talented drivers” under consideration are GB3 race-winner James Hedley and French F4 race-winner Kevin Fosters. As ever though, finding a full season’s budget is proving challenging.

Garry Horner interview by Steve Whitfield