The driving standards in Formula 3 have been the subject of controversy after the last two race meetings in Monza and Spa Francorchamps featured questionable driving from some of the series’ rookies.
Ferrari Academy driver Lance Stroll in particular [whom I personally rate highly] caused what were some outright dangerous shunts that eventually led to a one-race ban in Spa last weekend, along with some other smashes that were the result of drivers showing clear lack of respect for their fellow competitors and track limits which also led to a race being stopped prematurely in Monza last month.
In response to this the German F3 board have written an open letter to the FIA entitled “The Crash Kids In The Formula 3 European Championship” in which they argue that the reason there is such lack of respect between the competitors is down to many drivers being out of their depth in the large grid. “The scary incidents at Monza and Spa with cars overturning clearly show and are a terrifying proof that the direct switch from a national Formula 4 series to the Formula 3 European Championship is not working out as planned,” said the organisers. “The young drivers are lacking both the respect for their competitors and the fear of crashing.”
FIA officials are also discussing potentially banning drivers from stepping up to F3 from karts, making it compulsory to spend at least one season racing in F4 or similar before making the jump to the higher-spec series. Many believe these are knee-jerk reactions to the current state of the series, including Gerhard Berger who said to Autosprint after Monza that it was the race director rather than the drivers at fault.
— Felix Rosenqvist (@FRosenqvist) May 30, 2015
Whilst Berger is perhaps somewhat more extreme in his comments, there is something to be said about the increasing number of drivers making their way up the ladder and not adhering to proper driving standards out on track. This is especially when Felix Rosenquvist – who is now in his sixth series of the championship – is saying “I’ve lost all my trust of other drivers” in a message on Twitter.
Banning drivers from moving up from karts to F3 could also prove to be quite risky, although the FIA may look at the higher categories being examples of higher quality of driving. Having watched both race weekends in full, it was on the limit of what is/is not acceptable from drivers. You can see why Race Control took a dim view on the conduct of drivers, especially when some of them were edging each other to the side of the racetrack.
We’ll have to wait and see if the various meetings between FIA President Jean Todt and the drivers getting parked have any affect on their driving standards. The series takes on the tight, high speed Norisring circuit this weekend as the support bill for DTM.