Home Featured The timeline of BRDC British F3’s latest life

The timeline of BRDC British F3’s latest life

by Ida Wood

Photos: Jakob Ebrey Photgraphy

The rebranding of the BRDC British Formula 3 championship to GB3 marks the end of two names, both with significant history, and a third evolution for MotorSport Vision’s premier racing series

In 2013, the British junior single-seater scene became crowded as a new BRDC British Formula 4 series was created to go up against national series for Formula Renault, Formula Ford and FF1600 and MotorSport Vision’s own Formula 3 Cup.

MSV Racing had set up its new F4 series with the support of BRDC chief Derek Warwick, and intended to be an affordable entry-level series for British drivers. Given the costs of those other series that was quite a pitch to make, but a grid of 21 cars was attracted for the first ever race at Silverstone and there were 24 drivers on track for round two at Brands Hatch.

And the drivers in question were arguably a level above what rival British series were attracting, as future Mercedes simulator driver Jake Hughes won the title and his rivals included Haas Formula 1 driver Pietro Fittipaldi, Bentley factory driver and reality television star Seb Morris, Ginetta factory driver Charlie Robertson and Asian F3 champion Raoul Hyman.

Hughes was rewarded with a test in a previous-generation F3 car with Carlin at Valencia Ricardo Tormo, and 2014 champion George Russell joined GP3 post-season testing with Arden. During that year, the ambitions of the series and its rivals grew…


Tuesday, June 24 2014

British FFord announces it will become an FIA F4-spec series in 2015, combining a new carbon-fibre chassis with its existing 1.6-litre Ford EscoBoost engine. However there is no indication it will use the F4 moniker, given MSV boss Jonathan Palmer holds the rights to use the name in the United Kingdom and had done so before the FIA created its standardised F4.

Will Palmer

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Wednesday, September 3 2014

While rumours swirl that British FFord will be taking on a Mygale F4 chassis for 2015, BRDC F4 declares it will also adopt a FIA F4-spec car in the future. It plans to introduce the same Tatuus chassis as used in ADAC and Italian F4 for 2016, and continue with its current two-litre Ford Duratec engine.

The planned UK debut of the car will be the 2015 BRDC British F4 Autumn Cup, and will be used for at least four years. Teams seeking to buy the car will be able to get it significantly cheaper thanks to an offer from MSV to buy back the current cars so they can be used at PalmerSport track day venues such as Bedford Autodrome.

Monday, January 26 2015

The prize for winning the BRDC British F4 title is increased, with the series’ new tyre supplier Pirelli funding an award for the champion should they graduate to GP3. In addition to the existing £35,000 the champion gets, another £50,000 will be added if they take the GP3 route. They will also receive a free GP3 test at the end of 2015 with ART Grand Prix.

British FFord has now elected to call itself MSA Formula, and has attracted British junior single-seater heavyweights Arden, Carlin, Fortec Motorsports and Double R Racing.

Saturday, May 30 2015

BRDC F4’s FIA-spec car is revealed, except it’s not FIA-spec anymore. The series has still gone for the Tatuus car used on the continent, but with upgraded aerodynamics and a new naturally aspirated four-cylinder Cosworth engine that is 45bhp more powerful than its existing Ford unit.

All-time BRDC British F4/F3/GB3 statistics
Wins Poles Fastest laps
W Palmer 19 N Kjaergaard 5 J Dalton 3 Hoggard 7 Palmer 26
E Ahmed 16 R Collard 5 M Bell 3 Palmer 6 Frederick 15
K Frederick 11 J Hughes 4 G di Mauro 3 Ahmed 5 Ahmed 13
T Sowery 7 A Maini 4 B Barnicoat 3 Norris 4 Sowery 11
L Lundqvist 7 R Hyman 4 L Foster 3 Hughes 4 Fielding 9
J Hoggard 7 G Fonseca 4 Z O’Sullivan 3 Lundgaard 4 Hoggard 9
A Simmons 7 M Leist 4 J Barlow 2 Graham 3 Robertson 7
S Fielding 6 B Hingeley 4 R Gunn 2 Russell 3 Gamble 7
L Norris 6 K Maini 4 J Fletcher 2 di Mauro 3 Hughes 6
M Graham 5 N Azman 4 H Newey 2 Kjaergaard 3 A Maini 6
G Russell 5 C Robertson 3 T Jackson 2 Novalak 3 Leist 6

“We have deliberately introduced a lot more sophistication compared with FIA F4, with incorporation of two way adjustable dampers, a limited slip differential, front and rear adjustable antiroll bars, extensive spring choices, a wide range of aerodynamic adjustment and enhanced data logging capability,” Palmer said at the time.

He estimated budgets “will be just £10,000-£15,000 greater [than in 2015], so £90,000 to £135,000 for the championship season”. Of the 26 cars ordered, 24 were sold to teams already in the series in a matter of weeks.

Thursday, October 22 2015

Carlin and Fortec commit to joining BRDC British F4 in 2016, in addition to continue racing in MSA Formula.

Saturday, November 7 2015

The upgraded Tatuus makes its race debut in the BRDC British F4 Autumn Cup. Seven cars line up at Snetterton, fielded by Douglas Motorsport, HHC Motorsport, Hillspeed and the debuting Fortec, and it’s Formula Renault Eurocup racer Harrison Scott who wins from pole for Douglas in a wet race.

Sisa Ngebulana takes second place after Ben Barnicoat aquaplanes off, although Barnicoat does recover to chase down Sennan Fielding to finish third. However a collision between the pair on the final lap cops Barnicoat a penalty, so Fielding comes third.

Fastest lap for Barnicoat puts him on pole for race two, which he turns into victory despite his rear wing breaking mid-race.

One week later the eight-race season concludes at Brands Hatch, with Barnicoat taking the title while MSA Formula champion Lando Norris makes a splash by taking pole then winning his first two races for HHC.

Ben Barnicoat

Wednesday, March 23 2016

Just days before the BRDC British F4 season is set to start, it’s announced that the series will be rebranded to BRDC British F3. As a national F3 series, it will also now be eligible for FIA superlicence points for the top five drivers, and paves the way for MSA Formula to take on the British F4 name.

Sunday, September 11 2016

Brazil’s Matheus Leist becomes the first BRDC British F3 champion since none other than BRDC chief Warwick, who won the title the last time a series under that name was run in 1978. The 21-car grid of the season opener ends up being the largest of the year, and drivers who take part include future F1 racers and Norris and Nikita Mazepin and future IndyCar race-winner Colton Herta, who all share the same Carlin entry. Leist himself goes on to race in IndyCar just 18 months after winning the F3 title.

Thursday, September 28 2017

MSV reveals there is interest from teams in both BRDC British F3 and British F4 to form a winter series at Algarve in Portugal. The three-day event would include one day of testing and two days of racing, and its Iberian location was picked to avoid the bad weather that often impacted winter series held in Britain. Many teams also tested abroad at the end of the year anyway, and the likes of Carlin and Double R – running in F3 and F4 – were enthusiastic about turning that into racing.

Thursday, October 17 2017

The proposed winter series is called off as Britain’s motorsport governing body MSA (now called Motorsport UK) denies 15-year-olds with British racing licenses from competing in the F4 cars abroad. British F3 still plans to go ahead with a winter series of some form, but in the end does not.

BRDC British F3 winners list

14 wins – Enaam Ahmed, 11 wins – Kaylen Frederick
7 wins – Toby Sowery, Linus Lundqvist, Johnathan Hoggard, Ayrton Simmons
5 wins – Nelson Piquet, Ricky Collard, Nicolai Kjaergaard
4 wins – Derek Warwick, Matheus Leist, Ben Hingeley, Lando Norris, Kush Maini, Nazim Azman
3 wins – Jordan Cane, Manuel Maldonado, Louis Foster, Zak O’Sullivan
2 wins – Rupert Keegan, Bruno Giacomelli, Stephen South, Brett Riley, Derek Daly*, Geoff Brabham**, Anders Oloffson**, Thomas Randle, Tom Gamble, Jamie Caroline, Clement Novalak, Josh Mason, Benjamin Pedersen, Kiern Jewiss, Ulysse de Pauw, Reece Ushijima, Christian Mansell
1 win – Geoff Lees, Beppe Gabbiani, Eje Elgh**, Chico Serra, Jorge Caton***, Colton Herta, Nikita Mazepin, Cameron Das, Krishnaraaj Mahadik, Jamie Chadwick, Sun Yue Yang, Pavan Ravishankar, Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hampus Ericsson, Lucas Petersson, Nico Varrone, Piers Prior, Roberto Faria, Roman Bilinski, Mikkel Grundtvig

*Daly’s tally includes a qualifying race and a heat race win, **tally includes a heat win, ***tally includes qualifying race win

Wednesday, January 10 2018

The World Motor Sport Council meeting of December 2017 marks the start of a new era as Regional F3 (now known as Formula Regional) is created. This means Palmer’s use of the British F3 moniker in Britain expires, but over the winter he gets an extension for the 2018 season despite his series not fitting any kind of F3 regulations past or present.

Monday, February 19 2018

The three-race format of British F3 gets shaken up, with the reversed-grid second race of each weekend now going from the top eight finishers of race one being flipped to all of the finishers who have set a lap within 103% of the race’s fastest lap.

A decreased points tally gets announced too, but with additional points now being scored for every position gained from a driver’s starting spot.

Saturday, March 31 2018

Double amputee Billy Monger makes his racing return in the British F3 season opener at Oulton Park. The teenager had his lower legs amputated after a horror crash in British F4 in April the year before, but was able to test an F3 car by the next winter as Carlin worked on a specially-adapted clutch setup for him to use.

He makes the podium on his F3 debut to mark a dream return to racing.

Sunday, August 5 2018

Jamie Chadwick makes history as she claims her first single-seater win in the reversed-grid race at Brands Hatch. The Douglas Motorsport driver becomes the first woman to win a British F3 race.

chadwickSunday, October 14 2018

Torrential rain curtails the Silverstone season finale, with the last race of the year being cancelled entirely while the penultimate race lasted two laps behind the safety car before being abandoned.

Despite being cut to a short distance and with no green flag running, the two-lap reversed-grid race awards full points and means Lanan Racing’s Josh Mason becomes a first-time British F3 winner.

Wednesday, March 13 2019

Palmer rules out switching to Regional F3 regulations for 2019, which makes it harder to secure another annual extension on using the British F3 name, but says he intends for his series to join the category the season after.

He tells Autosport: “I’m confident that we will keep the name, it’s entirely logical that we should do and we’re looking forward to 2020, with an FIA-approved championship with a halo [equipped] car from FIA Regional F3 regulations.”

Monday, October 21 2019

Upgrades to the British F3 car are announced around the existing tub. Bodywork updates include modifications to the wings as well as a new engine cover, and an IndyCar-style fin in front of the driver is to be introduced for debris deflection.

The aerodynamic changes, including the introduction of bargeboards, are proposed to be enable greater set-up variation and increased downforce, particularly at the rear of the car. When 2020 comes, it’s noted that it’s a significantly different-handling car to what is was previously. This means no Regional F3 switch, and puts the name retention into question again.

BRDC British F3 poleman list

9 – Frederick
7 – 
Hoggard, Simmons
6 – Warwick
5 – Giacomelli, Foster
– Piquet, Lundqvist, Maini
3 – Norris, Ahmed, Gamble, Kjaergaard, Novalak
2 – South, Serra, Collard, Hingeley, Das, Monger, Jewiss, Ushijima, O’Sullivan, Horsten
1 – Taylor, Olofsson, Brabham, Elgh, N Mansell, Leist, Randle, Pull, Sowery, Caroline, Verhagen

Tuesday, December 17 2019

Accompanying the bodywork upgrades, it’s announced that new engines supplied by Mountune Racing will be introduced for 2020. They will have the same power output, but will be slimmer units and more efficient.

Sunday, May 17 2020

The global COVID-19 pandemic means the British F3 season is postponed by several months, and during the first lockdown period an official Esports series is created on iRacing and using the old Dallara F317 F3 car. Chris Dittmann Racing’s Nico Varrone wins the first ever race at a virtual Oulton Park, and later in the season drivers including IndyCar champion Will Power and British Touring Car Championship star Tom Ingram join in and win.

Thursday, December 3 2020

British F3 title announces its 2021 champion will be rewarded with two days of FIA F3 Championship testing.

Carlin and Hitech GP will host the prize recipient, running them for one day each during official post-season tests.

A teams’ title is also be introduced for this year, with a squad’s two highest-placed cars from each race contributing to its points total if it is running three or more cars.

Friday, January 15 2021

A second season of the Esports series is announced, as the pandemic continues to ravage the world, with a February start date announced. However the season doesn’t take place, and without explanation.

Monday, August 2 2021

BRDC British F3 rebrands to GB3 with immediate effect after the FIA restricts the use of the F3 moniker to its own F1-supporting championship. Regional F3 series are also stripped of the right, as the category is now given the FRegional term.

Thursday, August 5 2021

The GB3 championship hits the track for the first time in a pre-event test at Snetterton.

BRDC British F3 fastest laps

15 – Frederick, 13 – Ahmed, 11 – Sowery
9 – Hoggard
7 – Gamble, Simmons
6 – Warwick, Leist, de Pauw
5 – Kjaergaard, Maini
4 – Giacomelli, Collard, Lundqvist
3 – South, Piquet, Norris, Das, Monger, Horsten, Ushijima, O’Sullivan
2 – Brabham, Riley, Herta, Hingeley, Chaimongkol, Jewiss
1 – Keegan, Daly, Gabbiani, Elgh, Lammers, Luydenijk, Randle, Palmer, Owen, Caroline, Petersson, Novalak, Ericsson, Maldonado, Foster, Lubin, Faria, Sagrera, C Mansell