The World Series Formula V8 3.5 category will be discontinued after 2017.
Jaime Alguersuari Sr, who heads the RPM Racing company that promotes the series, has taken the decision to end the championship after this weekend?s Bahrain season finale because of a “continuous and alarming drop in entries”.
Only 10 cars are set to compete in Saturday’s first race, the lowest ever seen in the championship’s 20 year history.
“Neither World Series Formula V8 3.5 nor any other top single-seater series in the world have reached the ideal number of participating drivers in 2017,” an RPM statement said.
“The continuous and alarming drop in the number of driver entries in the main European single-seater series has forced Formula V8 3.5 to withdraw from the 2018 season racing calendar.”
RPM added that they will “keep track of evolution of all European-based single-seater series, their associated costs and participation figures,” adding: “Should teams, drivers and sponsors scenarios change in the near future, a World Series FV8 3.5 comeback is not to be dismissed.”
Started in 1998 as a two-litre formula (and successor to Spanish Formula Renault) under the name World Series by Nissan, the championship moved to three litre machinery in 2002.
When Nissan’s engine contract ran out, a merger with Renault’s V6 Eurocup was orchestrated, and the championship became the FRenault 3.5 series for 2005.
This partnership lasted till 2015, ?when Renault Sport announced they would cease support and instead concentrate their efforts on the existing FR2.0 Eurocup.
For 2016 Alguersuari and RPM took back full control of the championship, having been involved from the start, with Tom Dillmann becoming the first FV8 3.5 champion. The ‘World Series’ tag was reintroduced this year.
Drivers to have gone through FV8 3.5 in its many iterations include Formula 1 legends Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, grand prix winners Heikki Kovalainen, Robert Kubica, Pastor Maldonado and Daniel Ricciardo and Indycar champions Simon Pagenaud and Will Power.
Charouz Racing Systems, which runs Lotus, and Fortec have both been announced as entrants in Formula 2 next year, while RP Motorsport and Teo Martin Motorsport will continue their Euroformula Open programmes. AVF Formula is set to be announced as one of the teams in the 2018 Eurocup.