Van Amersfoort: F3 and GP3 merger would be "logical"

Formula 3 team boss Frits van Amersfoort reckons there is currently not enough room for European F3 and GP3, and believes the two championships becoming one would make sense.

Van Amersfoort: F3 and GP3 merger would be "logical"
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Matthew Parry, Koiranen GP, leads Antonio Fuoco, Trident, Jake Dennis, Arden International, Jack Aitken, Arden International, Charles Leclerc, ART Grand Prix and Nirei Fukuzumi, ART Grand Prix
David Beckmann, Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara F317 - Mercedes-Benz
David Beckmann, Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara F317 - Mercedes-Benz
David Beckmann, Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara F317 - Mercedes-Benz
Anthoine Hubert, ART Grand Prix
Leonardo Pulcini, Arden International
Ralf Aron, Hitech Grand Prix, Dallara F317 - Mercedes-Benz
Jake Hughes, Hitech Grand Prix, Dallara F317 - Mercedes-Benz
The GP2 paddock
GP2 cars leave the paddock
Paddock activity
The paddock in Barcelona
Yellow flags, crash, track guards, David Beckmann, kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport Dallara F312 – Mercedes-Benz; Nick Cassidy, Prema Powerteam Dallara F312 – Mercedes-Benz; Sérgio Sette Câmara, Motopark Dallara F312 – Volkswagen
Sérgio Sette Câmara, Motopark Dallara F312 – Volkswagen
Start, Ben Barnicoat, HitechGP Dallara F312 – Mercedes-Benz

Reports that the two championships could merge in 2019 have emerged in the wake of F1's main feeder series GP2 rebranding into FIA Formula 2.

With F2 returning, FIA has completed its goal to create a clear road to Formula 1 through F4, F3 and F2.

Meanwhile, GP3 continues to exist in a peculiar position, with its rounds being held on F1 weekends alongside F2.

When asked about a possible merge between European F3 and GP3, Van Amersfoort welcomed the idea, saying there is no need for both championships to exist.

"You don't need to be a magician to see there is not enough room in Europe for two of the categories, which are more or less the same," he told Motorsport.com.

"It's quite a logical development I would guess that if GP2 became F2, the next aim would be to merge GP3 and F3 so it's quite a logical step.

"More I can't say, it's in the hands of the FIA and the promoters, and we just have to wait what happens.

"We are really looking forward to a system which has Formula 1, Formula 2 and Formula 3 and I think everybody with a heart of motorsport will welcome that."

Teams hesitant to give up on recently updated car

With F3 and GP3 using completely different cars, one of the biggest questions about a potential merge is what machinery the new championship would use.

Both cars have been recently changed, with GP3 introducing its third-generation machinery last year, and F3 bringing in an updated aero kit for the Dallara F312 chassis for 2017.

While admitting that the teams of championship whose car was not chosen would be at a disadvantage, both Van Amersfoort and Hitech boss Oliver Oakes said they wouldn't want to give up on the cars they just invested in.

Oakes said: "I think there is going to be an interesting discussion to have for teams in F3 - we just paid a lot of money to have an update kit for this season, so I can't imagine any of us wanting to fork out for a new car.

"In the end this is up to the organisers to force us what to do. I think, for sure, the F3 car always stays relevant. [But] this isn't my decision, this is up to the rulemakers, which way they want car to behave."

Van Amersfoort added: "This year we invested quite a lot of money again in the cars so it's a bit difficult to change the whole system within too soon a time."

Mixing F1 and DTM calendars

When asked whether racing on Formula 1 bill would be interesting, both team bosses pointed out that losing connections with DTM manufacturers would be a loss.

Instead, a calendar consisting of rounds from both championships was proposed, while Van Amersfoort criticised the F1 paddock for not being accessible by fans.

"I'll give you a very political answer, I really think the tightness of the Formula 1 paddock is something we don't really like because it keeps away a lot of fans from the F3 cars," said the Dutchman.

"So my best idea would be to make a mix of the two series.

"Of course we are married to DTM for a long time, every team has its connections to a DTM team so it would be a loss if we are outside of DTM, but I understand that some decisions have to be taken.

"I said for a long time now we welcome everything which leads to healthier formula series in Europe and that's what we need."

Oakes added that another issue with the F1 paddock is not guaranteeing as much track time for the drivers as F3 currently provides.

"I think the only problem in an F1 weekend is quite a lot of support packages," he said. "In F3 we're getting a lot more mileage being on the DTM weekend so it's just finding that balance.

"There's been quite a lot of discussion about this by the teams, I think the ultimate calendar [would be] to have a little bit of both.

"There is a big advantage for the drivers from F3 with links to DTM teams, and there is also an advantage for F1 teams to see the young drivers in F3 on race weekends.

"I think it would be a shame to lose something like Pau from the F3 calendar, which is a great race preparing the guys on street circuits, but also if we get the chance to go with F1 to some nice venues it's also an interesting concept.

"To be honest, it could be the best of both worlds, but we'll have to see - that's up to the big bosses."

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