World Series Formula V8 3.5 scrapped for 2018 season

World Series Formula V8 3.5
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The World Series Formula V8 3.5 championship, formerly known as Formula Renault 3.5, has been scrapped for 2018 due to a lack of interest to enter from drivers and teams.

After starting life as World Series by Nissan, Formula Renault 3.5 established itself as a rival to GP2 as Formula 1’s premier feeder championship, acting as a stepping stone in the careers of drivers such as Robert Kubica, Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Kevin Magnussen and Carlos Sainz Jr.

Renault withdrew its factory support at the end of the 2015 season, but the series continued under new management through 2016 with the Formula V8 3.5 moniker.

Only 13 different drivers have raced in the championship this year, with a 10-car grid set for the season finale in Bahrain on Saturday where it supports the FIA World Endurance Championship.

In a statement issued by the series on Friday, it was confirmed that the championship would not be going ahead next year.

“The continuous and alarming drop in the number of driver entries in the main European single-seater series has forced World Series Formula V8 3.5 to withdraw from the 2018 season racing calendar,” the statement reads.

“However, and according to the figures achieved so far, we at RPM-MKTG are very proud of being the promoters of the most successful single-seater series in the last 20 years.

“Starting with the brand-new Formula Nissan in 1998, our commitment and goals went much bigger as Formula Renault 3.5 Series was created in 2005.

“As a result, 25 drivers have reached the pinnacle of motorsport – that is, Formula 1 – in this era. Stars such as Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo are some of them.

“This huge success has been achieved thanks to the emotional spirit of a single concept: ‘the power of dreams’.

“Since 1998 we have shared our dreams with hundreds of friends, team owners, engineers, mechanics, racing drivers and, above all, with the drivers’ relatives. They have made the careers of all those young talents possible by means of their unlimited sacrifice.

“RPM’s original idea was helping parents and relatives build driver careers by providing the best possible single-seater at the lowest cost.

“In the recent years no other series nor championship in any continent has been able to match the unbeatable cost/performance ratio of World Series Formula V8 3.5.

“Unfortunately, neither World Series Formula V8 3.5 nor any other top single-seater series in the world have reached the ideal number of participating drivers in 2017.

“Nevertheless, RPM-MKTG wants to announce that will keep track of evolution of all European-based single-seater series, their associated costs and participation figures.

“Should teams, drivers and sponsors scenarios change in the near future, a World Series Formula V8 3.5 comeback is not to be dismissed.”

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Formula One embrace the United States

Verstappen Perez United States
Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images
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Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed their new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with US-based Ford Motors in a press event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Team Principle Christian Horner. They are the only Formula 1 team to launch in the United States, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.

“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Unites States Grand Prix, but he was first with the fans.  – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.

With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.

In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.

By the time Formula arrived in Austin for Round 20 of 23, Verstappen had already wrapped up his second consecutive championship.

“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.

“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Max Verstappen United States Grand Prix win was one of 15 for the drivers and 17 for Red Bull.
(Gongora / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now Verstappen’s thoughts will inevitably turn to establishing a dynasty – and America will again play a pivotal role.

“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said.  “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”

Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his principle rival for the championship.

“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.

“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”

Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.