BRDC Formula 4 will be switching from its current homologated chassis designed by Ralph Firman, to the one used in FIA F4 championships in 2015/2016, in order to open up the series to a wider range of ages. MSA last week announced that drivers that are aged 15 will be able to compete in single-seater championships from next year, making British Formula Ford the only option as it is current the only domestic series that complies with the FIA Artice 274 crash test and safety requirements.
However after a meeting between Jonathan Palmer and team bosses at Silverstone last weekend, it seems BRDC F4 will be switching to the FIA F4 chassis which is designed by Dallara from its current spaceframe chassis, in order to comply with this ruling. Costs will inevitably rise with Formula Ford set to be in the £30,000 mark, however Palmer has said that he will purchase the existing chassis currently used in BRDC F4 back from teams for £15,000 which is in effect subsidising the price of the new chassis for teams.
Palmer said he later intends to use the Ralph Firman chassis at MSV-owned circuits such as Brands Hatch and Oulton Park for single seater experience centres.
But the whole news does open up a rabbit hole about how the FIA’s Formula 4 series is perhaps becoming less streamlined given that Formula Ford will be switching to the name “British F4” in the future and that the chassis will in effect be the same running across the country. We’ve already saw with British Formula 3 this year the effects of this fragmentation, with more teams electing to run in the International series rather than the domestic one, which resulted in just five cars starting last weekend at Thruxton for their sixth round of the season.
If such a thing was to happen with British F4 and BRDC F4, the chances of the two merging in the future might not be far off.