After an announcement from the organiser that the first round of Indian F4 and Formula Regional Indian Championship (FRIC) postponed until November, F1 Feeder Series can now confirm the first FIA-certified Indian feeder series will not take place in 2022.
By Perceval Wolff
The first day of pre-season testing for Formula Regional Indian Championship (FRIC) and Indian F4 should have taken place this week at the Buddh International Circuit. However, zero drivers have been announced and there has been no communication for several months from the championships’ officials.
F1 Feeder Series has learned the promoters seem to have underestimated the cost of organising two brand new championships. The Tatuus T318 and T421 cars never arrived in India and it is likely that there will be no official statement about the cancellation of the 2022 season. Moreover, given the silence of the championship promoters, it also seems that FRIC and Indian F4 will simply never happen. At least not in the near future.
Launched in fashion with a big ceremony in August 2021, Formula Regional India and Indian F4 seemed the first step of an all-Indian feeder series ladder, with ambitions to enter a team into F3 and F2 in the future. The involvement of Prema Racing in the championships was supposed to give credibility to the championships but also to create a new generation of Indian motorsport engineers and mechanics.
Awarding 18 FIA Super Licence points for the championship and a free seat in Formula Regional Asia was an enticing reward for the drivers. Strong links with Prema and potential to join the Italian squad for European championships in case of strong results was a prospect that couldn’t be ignored for young drivers in the region.
With the objective of making India one of the biggest motorsport countries by way of local championships and new racetracks such as the one that was designed in the streets of Hyderabad, expectations were growing in the feeder series community.
Delayed at the start of the year because of Covid-19’s resurgence in the country, FRIC and Indian F4 had more time to prepare everything for November. However, by organizing a championship at the end of the year, at the exact same time where drivers are busy testing with F4 and FRECA teams while trying to gather sponsors, it was a risk to the attractiveness of the series by racing in November and December.
Since then, the championship promoters have remained silent. With zero drivers announced only two weeks of the start of the season, it began to emerge that FRIC and Indian F4 would not happen. Despite the lack of announcement from the organisers, F1 Feeder Series understands that several drivers had indeed been signed to the series with some drivers being sent to various European circuits to film promotional material for the Indian championships. Several European drivers are known to have been deep in conversation about racing in India over the winter.
Communication by the championship organizers was poor and disjointed. This lack of communication and organisation buried the chance of the series filling their respective grids as drivers bailed one-by-one, not wanting to risk their funding and time on a shambolic race series. What could have been the first step of India’s return to the top of motorsport will remain, for now, nothing more than an ambitious dream.
Header photo credit: Vaqaas Mansuri
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