F2 and F3 revert back to old format in 2022: ‘We were losing a bit of the excitement’

In a special press conference at Sochi on Friday afternoon, Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali announced a number of revisions to the schedule of both the Formula 2 and Formula 3 calendars for next year.  

By Tyler Foster

“What we want to announce is that we have decided for the next year to go back, whenever it is possible, to have both championships: Formula 2 and Formula 3, together on the same platform when we are racing with Formula 1″, Domenicali told F1 Feeder Series and selected media. “That’s something that is current to having everyone under the same spotlight. We will be making sure that there is a lot of action for the people coming to the track.”

“We are going to announce the calendar [for next year’s series] after the 15th of October.”

CEO of both Formula 2 and Formula 3, Bruno Michel announced the new format for the race weekend schedule for 2022. It is seemingly a reversion back to the previous format used, however with the Feature Race continuing to be on Sunday.

“We will go ahead with Free Practice and Qualifying on Friday as usual. Then Race 1 on Saturday will be a reverse grid with the top ten for F2 and top twelve for F3. This is the sprint race. On Sunday there will be the Feature Race which is set from the qualifying on Friday.”

“We [the feeder series] are going to have fewer races because it is also a question of the timetable on a race weekend and having the F2 and F3 together with the F1 doesn’t allow us to do three races per weekend. So we will go to two races per weekend. The format will be slightly changed from what we had in the past because we want to keep the Feature Race on Sunday. I think it is very important to have the Feature Race before the Formula 1 race and it has been working quite well this season.”

This decision comes after much discussion within the paddock about the negative impacts that the changes made to this year’s schedules have had. Combined with the implications of COVID-19, the issues of cost have been prevalent this year for many of the teams. Therefore, it was imperative for there to be some reformations made to reduce these problems.

Bruno Michel spoke about the reasons for this schedule change. “We put up this new format because we wanted to try to simplify the cost issues. We knew that 2021 was going to be a difficult season but we also noticed that there was too much time between the races. By doing that we were losing a bit of the excitement.”

“The format which worked very well on the track was not so easy to understand. That’s another thing that we wanted to simplify as well.”

One of the impacts of this change will be that the F1, F2 and F3 paddocks will be present together much more often, giving young drivers the opportunity to show their skills to prospective team bosses. Bruno Michel believes that this “gives a very strong push to the other categories that have become really strategic to the system”.

“There is a very strong will of everybody to have all of the pyramid present as much as possible on the same weekend: F1, F2 and F3. There will be a lot of benefits for everybody to do that. It will not be for all of the races but it will be for most of the races that we will have F1, F2 and F3 together.”

With the current restrictions on F2 and F3 teams and their personnel, the workload has at times pushed them close to breaking point. As Bruno Michel said, “for F3 doing three races a weekend was possible, for F2 it was very difficult.”

Stefano Domenicali stated that one of the reasons this change was needed was because of the current abundance of talent in the feeder series. “It is a moment where in terms of numbers, in terms of drivers’ quality, we are in a very good shape in F3 and F2.”

The W Series has been part of the support series to Formula One this year but was noticeably left out of the announcements made. Domenicali was asked what this reform meant to the all-female spec series. 

“That is still part of the discussion, we are preparing the full calendar. As you know the Formula 1 weekend is getting very intense in terms of action for all the people attending the races. It’s part of the discussion we are having to still have the W Series with us.”

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