F4 is future path for open wheel racing

THE Board of the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport has recently confirmed that a new single seat open wheel circuit racing formula will be introduced in Australia.

Along with the FIA, CAMS has chosen formula four as the future pathway for open wheel racing, bridging the gap between karting, formula three and formula one.

The new category will focus on driver development rather than car development in order to minimise costs and will be both nationally and internationally relevant to integrate with the CAMS Driver Development Program.

The FIA has regulated that the cars will have a common carbon fibre chassis that meets the formula three safety requirements and be fitted with four cylinder engines.

This will be a wings and slicks formula, but the regulations will be very strict to keep costs down and create a formula that is both fair and has sporting credibility.

CAMS will designate a single engine partner and manufacturer as well as a single tyre supplier and each of the seven to eight race meetings the competitors will be limited to six slick tyres for the weekend.

The cars will feature a six speed sequential gearbox and there is an option for paddle shift to be introduced.

Engines will be 2.0 litre non turbo and to minimise costs they will be specified in a configuration that will enable them to last for 10,000 kilometres without major rebuilds.

The front and rear wings will be adjustable and safety will be paramount.

In addition there will be a requirement for anti intrusion side panels, roll bars, removable seat, wheel restraint cables, on board fire extinguisher and retractable steering column.

Formula four championships will be organised at national level and so far six countries, including Australia, have taken up the opportunity to be involved.

All sporting and technical regulations must comply with the proposed framework as established by the FIA and this will provide an opportunity for competitors to compete at an international level.

As far as race formats are concerned the FIA proposal is to follow the European formula three model, which has two 30 minute free practice sessions on day 1, followed by a 20 to 30-minute qualifying session on the Saturday and one 30-minute race with the grid based on qualifying times.

On the Sunday there will two more 30-minute races with the first one a reverse grid of the top 10 from race 1 and the second and final race using the second fastest time of each driver from the qualifying session to set the grid.

Points will be awarded from 25 for first to 1 for 10th in each race and there will be five bonus points for the fastest qualifying time and a bonus point for the fastest lap in each race.

At the end of last year the Ford Motor Company decided not to continue their financial support of the Formula Ford category that has served Australia so well for over 40 years and CAMS took up the option to support the championship for 2013.

It was obvious that FF in Australia was struggling to survive with diminishing numbers and rising costs and this is one of the primary reasons why CAMS was keen to introduce the formula four category.

Formula Ford will no longer have national title status, but will revert to state-based competition from 2014 so there will still be an opportunity for existing cars to race.

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