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“Out of the question” to grow F3 grid in future, F2 open to more cars

by Ida Wood

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Formula 2 remains open to expanding its car count in the future, while Formula 3 will never exceed its current 30-car grid size according to the promoter of both.

The FIA F3 Championship launched in 2010 as GP3, with a 30-car grid. By 2012 it had between 24 and 26 entries, then 27 for much of the next two years. There was a permanent drop after that, and grids dipped below 20 cars frequently in 2017 and ’18. The rebrand to F3, introduction of a new car and returning to a paddock layout of teams having to run three cars each in 2019 regenerated interest, and only in five instances since has the pitlane dropped below 30 cars.

F2 (nee GP2) has always had two-car teams. It started with 12 in 2005, had 13 from 2006-’09, returned to 12 in 2010 then featured 13 again from 2011-’15. In 2016 it downscaled to 11, and 10 the year after. An 11th team was added again in 2020.

DAMS and fellow F2 team Virtuosi Racing recently told Formula Scout they are interested in expanding into F3, Sainteloc Racing and Velocity Racing Development plan to join both championships in the future, and Andretti Global has been broadcasting its intent to enter F2 since 2022. At the time, championship CEO Bruno Michel said the American outfit was yet to contact him. That remains the case.

“We haven’t been in contact yet. Probably it will happen,” Michel revealed to media this month. “If Andretti wants to join F2 and F3, they have to go through the same process as everybody else, because that’s the way it’s working. We have selection process every three years in both categories. The one in F2 happened last year, so the next one will be in three years’ time. For F3, the selection process is going to be this year. So if they want to join, they have to go through the process.”

On the prospect of F3 adding an 11th team, Michel said: “It’s completely out of the question to increase the number of cars. 30 is already a lot. And it’s a very good number.”

As for the possibility of growing F2’s grid, “the question’s as always been open” but Michel is “quite happy with” 22 cars and “not so inclined to increase the number of teams”.

“Andretti, yes they can try to do a deal with an existing team. Or they can apply, and if they apply there’s always a possibility that one team will not continue or one team will not have done a proper job and then in that case they’ll have a chance to come in.”

Addressing the appeal that having an IndyCar title-winning operation in F2 would have, Michel reiterated “I have to be fair to existing teams” in the selection process.

“Of course Andretti is a good name, Andretti in the case of a programme [doing] F2 racing is interesting. We don’t have an American team in F2. So it ticks a lot of boxes.”

F2 & FIA F3 grid sizes

Year 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
GP2 24 26 25-26 25-26 23-26
Year 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
GP2 24 25-26 26 26 26
GP3 30 30 24-26 26-27 23-27
Year 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
GP2/F2 24-26 21-22 20 19-20 17-20
GP3/F3 21-24 22-24 19-20 19-20 28-30
Year 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
F2 22 22 21-22 22 21-22
F3 28-30 29-30 29-30 30 30