Formula racing is a term that refers to various forms of open wheeled single seater motorsport. Its origin lies in the nomenclature that was adopted by the FIA for all of its post-
World War IIsingle seater regulations, or . The best known of these formulae are Formula One, Formula Two, and Formula Three. Common usage of "formula racing" is now more generic and encompasses most single seater series, including the GP2 Series, which replaced Formula 3000.
Categories such as Formula Three and GP2 are described as feeder formulae, which refers to their position below Formula One on the
career ladderof single seater motor racing. There are two primary forms of racing formula: the open formula that allows a choice of chassis and/or engines; and the control or "spec" formula that relies on a single supplier for chassis and engines. Formula Threeis an example of an open formula, while Formula BMWis a control formula.
The first racing formulae
In the process of reviving Grand Prix racing after the end of World War II, the
Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile's Commission Sportive Internationale was responsible for defining the standardised regulations of Formula Onein 1946. The first race to be run to the early Formula One regulations was a non-championship Grand prix at Turinin September 1946. The first officially recognised "Drivers' World Championship" was held in 1947 and the "Formula One World Championship" was inaugurated in 1950. This was the first example of formula racing.
Formulae Two and Three
Formula Tworegulations were first defined in 1947 as a form of B-class below Formula One. [ [http://www.formula2.net/ Formula Two] From "formula2.net." Retrieved on August 282007.] It was not unusual for some Formula One events to include a number of F2 entries in the same field and the entries in the World Championship seasons of 1952-53 comprised exclusively F2 cars for reasons of cost. F2 had a patchy history until the inauguration of the "European Formula Two Championship" in 1967. F2 was an open formula that allowed the use of any chassisthat met the prescribed regulations; it was well supported during the 1970s, with chassis from Tecno, March Engineering, Toleman, Ralt, Matraand others. The European championship ran continually until the creation of its successor, Formula 3000, in 1985. [ [http://www.oldracingcars.com/f2/ F2] From "oldracingcars.com." Retrieved on August 282007.] Formula Threehas a longer history; unlike Formula Two, it still exists today, with at least ten active championships around the world. It was created by the FIA in 1950 as the low cost entry point to single seater formula racing. In 1959, it was replaced by a technically similar formula called Formula Junior, before Formula Three was reintroduced in 1964. [ [http://www.motorsportsetc.com/champs/gbr_f3.htm British F3 Champions] From "motorsportsetc.com." Retrieved on August 282007.] Like the other FIA-derived formulae, F3 is an open class that permits a choice of chassis and engines. Notable championships include the F3 Euroseries, the British F3 Championship, and the Formel 3 Cup.
The FIA-sanctioned category directly below Formula One has been subject to two significant evolutions in its history. The first occurred in 1985 when the "FIA
Formula 3000International Championship" was launched as a modern successor to Formula Two. Formula 3000 retained the open chassis approach, but used a single engine supply of 3.0 litreV8s from Cosworth. The formula later adopted a single chassis supply from Lola with engines that were built by Judd and supplied by Zytek. The second major evolution came in 2005 when Formula 3000 was replaced by the GP2 Series. This uses a single chassis from Dallaraand a Renault-badged 4.0 litreV8.
Ford Motor Companywas the first car manufacturer to become involved in the creation of an eponymous single seater formula when Formula Fordwas developed in the United Kingdomin 1966-67. The cars made their race debut in July 1967. [ [http://www.bmrc.co.uk/ffhistory.htm FFord History] From "bmrc.co.uk." Retrieved on August 282007.] Formula Ford is and always has been an open formula with for chassis suppliers. Current suppliers include Van Diemen, Mygale, and Ray. [ [http://www.britishformulaford.co.uk/results/2007/const.pdf British FFord Constructors' Standings] From "britishformulaford.co.uk." Retrieved on August 282007.] Various specifications and capacities of 4-cylinder Ford road car engines have been used; the current cars are equipped with a 1.6 litre"Duratec" engine. Renaultquickly followed Ford's lead by devising the national Formula Renaultchampionships in Francein 1971. [ [http://www.renault-sport.com/fr/circuit/france_2000/presentation.php History of Formula Renault] From "renault-sport.com." Retrieved on August 282007.] Since then, Formula Renault has expanded to include championships in the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Braziland many other countries. There is also a European championship. Renault's increased involvement in motor racing resulted in the creation of a second European series for larger V6-powered cars. The "Formula Renault V6 Eurocup" ran for two seasons before folding in a reorganisation of Renault's motor racing activities. The company took control of the Spanish-based "World Series by Nissan" and developed it into the World Series by Renault. BMWdeveloped Formula BMWin Germanyin 2001-2002, after supplying engines for its predecessor, the Formula ADAC championship. [ [http://www.formulabmwusa.com/concept_history/ Formula BMW History] From "formulabmwusa.com". Retrieved on August 282007.] Formula BMW now comprises four championships in Germany, the United Kingdom, the United Statesand East Asia, as well as an annual World Final at which the best drivers from each championship are invited to compete.
Formula-style single seater racing can be found around the world in countries that have not adopted the
career ladderof the common European formulae. Japan's highest level single seater championship is Formula Nippon, which is equivalent to GP2 and its predecessors. It began in 1973, using Formula Two regulations, and then adopted Formula 3000 regulations from 1987 to 1996. Since then, it has used chassis and engines that are built to its own proprietary ruleset. It now uses a single chassis from Lola and two engine options from Hondaand Toyota. [ [http://www.speedsportmag.com/en/formula_nippon/entrylist.php?sid=248 2007 Formula Nippon Entry List] From "speedsportmag.com." Retrieved on August 282007.]
United States, too, has unique feeder formulae of its own. Since 1974, the most common route to top-level single seaters was "Formula Atlantic", which is now known as the Atlantic Championship. It was later joined by the Firestone Indy LightsSeries, first ran by CARTand later revived by the IRL. Atlantic joined its rival in support of the IndyCar Seriesafter the latter's merger with Champ Carin 2008. Below this level sits the Star Mazda Championship, which is approximately equivalent to Formula Three. East Asia's racing culture is relatively young, but it already has its own Formula BMW championship and a Formula Three series. The cars that were built for the Formula Renault V6 Eurocup are now used in "Formula Asia V6" and next year, a new Asian GP2 championship will take place. [ [http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/59092 Asian GP2 series confirmed] From "autosport.com, May 242007. Retrieved on August 312007.]
Notes and references
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