Formula racing is any of several forms of open-wheeled single-seater motorsport road racing. The origin of the term lies in the nomenclature that was adopted by the FIA for all of its post-World War II single-seater regulations, or formulae. The best known of these formulae are Formula One, Formula E, Formula Two, Formula Three, regional Formula Three and Formula Four. Common usage of "formula racing" encompasses other single-seater series, including the GP2 Series, which replaced Formula 3000 (which had itself been the effective replacement for Formula Two).
Categories such as Formula Three and FIA Formula 2 Championship are described as feeder formulae, which refers to their position below Formula One on the career ladder of single-seater motor racing. There are two primary forms of racing formula: the open formula that allows a choice of chassis or engines and the control or "spec" formula that relies on a single supplier for chassis and engines. Formula Three is an example of an open formula, while Formula BMW is a control formula. There are also some exceptions on these two forms like Formula Ford where there is an open chassis formula but a restricted single brand engine formula.
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 One (F1) in 1946. The first race to be run to the early Formula One regulations was a non-championship Grand Prix in Turin in September 1946. The first officially recognised Formula One season was held in 1947 and the World Championship for Drivers was inaugurated in 1950. This was the first example of formula racing.[ citation needed ]
Formula E is the highest class of competition for single-seat, electrically-powered racing cars, which held its inaugural season in 2014–15. Conceived in 2012, the championship was intended by the FIA to serve as an R&D platform for the electric vehicle and promote interest in EVs and sustainability.The series races predominately on temporary circuits in cities such as New York, Hong Kong, Zürich, Berlin, Rome, and Paris in events known as "ePrix". In order to cap costs but maintain technological development, the series uses a spec chassis and battery that must be used by all entrants, with competing teams permitted to design and build their own motors, inverter and rear suspension. The series has gained significant traction in recent years.
The FIA Formula 2 Championship was introduced in 2017 by Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore following the rebranding of the long-term F1 feeder series – GP2 Series. Designed to make racing affordable and to make it the perfect training ground for life in F1, F2 has made it mandatory for all of the teams to use the same chassis, engine, and tyre supplier.
In 2019, The GP3 Series was replaced by international Formula 3, just like GP2 did as Formula 2 in 2017. The series' first drivers champion is Robert Shwartzman driving for Prema Racing, who have also won the constructors championship for that year. At the end of the year, the FIA Formula 3 World Cup takes places during the Macau Grand Prix as a non-championship, season-ending event.
Formula Regional is the last category that takes places outside the F1 events format. Each championship correspond to one specific region : Asia (under the F3 name), Americas, Europe and Japan (under the FR name). Alongside official FIA championships also exist parallel series such as Toyota Racing Series (New-Zealand), and W Series (worldwide) which uses the same technical regulations.
FIA Formula 4, also called FIA F4, is an open-wheel racing car category intended for junior drivers. There is no global championship, but rather individual nations or regions can host their own championships in compliance with a universal set of rules and specifications. The category was created by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA)—the International sanctioning and administrative body for motorsport—as an entry-level category for young drivers, bridging the gap between karting and Formula 3. The series is a part of the FIA Global Pathway.
The NTT IndyCar Series is the premier level of American open-wheel racing. The series, founded by Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony George, began in 1996 as the "Indy Racing League" (IRL). In 2008, the series merged with the rival Champ Car World Series, formerly known as CART, to form the IndyCar Series. The IndyCar Series is not an open formula. The league specifies the chassis, engine, and tire manufacturers, which are changed every three years. Currently, all teams run on Dallara chassis and Firestone tires and they can choose between a Honda and a Chevrolet engine. A typical IndyCar season usually contains a mixture of natural terrain road courses, temporary street circuits, and short & high-speed ovals; including the historic Indianapolis 500.
The current Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires is the feeder series for the IndyCar Series, similar to F1's relationship with Formula 2. The original Indy Lights (known as "American Racing Series") acted as a developmental circuit for CART from 1986 to 2001. In 2001, the Toyota Atlantic series was equally effective in providing new drivers, so CART canceled the Indy Lights. The current series was founded in 2002 by the Indy Racing League. It initially struggled to attract drivers and some races had fewer than ten entrants. However, with the introduction of road courses in 2005 and a boost in prize money in 2006, drivers like Marco Andretti and Phil Giebler were attracted to compete in the Indy Lights championships part-time, expanding the field to twenty or more cars in every race in 2007. As the spec car (a Dallara with a Nissan VRH35 engine) had been used since INDYCAR established the series in 2002, the number of drivers has decreased again with just nine drivers competing the entire season and so far eight other drivers running three or fewer races. A new Dallara IL-15 with an Advanced Engine Research 2-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine will be the specification starting in 2015.
The Indy Pro 2000 Championship presented by Cooper Tires has been a racing driver development series since 2011, when it became governed by Indy Racing League, although the original series started in 1991 as the Star Mazda Championship. Drivers currently use Formula Mazda cars built by Star Race Cars with a 250 hp Mazda 'Renesis' rotary engine and Cooper tires.
Cooper Tires presents the U.S. F2000 National Championship powered by Mazda is an American variation of the Formula Ford. The series was initially founded by Dan Andersen and Mike Foschi in 1990 and regularly fielded over 60 entries per race. In 2001, the series was sold to Jon Baytos who introduced a number of controversial rule changes that brought the series out of alignment with similar SCCA classes, which led to a reduction in participation and the end of the series in 2006. In 2010, the series returned under the leadership of Andersen with the intent to return F2000 to its status as a feeder formula for higher open wheel racing classes in the United States.
The Super Formula, a.k.a. Formula Nippon, is the premier level of Japanese formula racing. It began as the Japanese Formula 2000 series in 1973 and continued to use Formula Two regulations after European Formula Two had ended in 1984. In 1987 the series switched to the Formula 3000 standard so that Japanese and European regulations paralleled one another again. However, in 1996, the International Formula 3000 series became a one-make format to reduce costs and the Japanese Formula broke away, changing the series' name to Formula Nippon. Until recently, Formula Nippon was an open formula – chassis were supplied by Lola, Reynard and G-Force, while Mugen-Honda supplied most engines. However, in 2001/02 G-Force and Reynard withdrew and the series once again followed F3000's lead in becoming a one-make series. In 2006, the regulations were changed drastically – the chassis was replaced and the engines provided by Toyota and Honda had the same specifications as the engines used in the 2005 IndyCar Series.
See: Euroformula Open Championship
Formula series from the 21st century that could be categorised between Tier 1 and Tier 5 (see top of page), but are now defunct, are described below.
The Formula Two regulations were first defined in 1947 as a form of B-class below Formula One.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 chassis that met the prescribed regulations; it was well supported during the 1970s, with chassis from Tecno, March Engineering, Toleman, Ralt, Matra and others. The European championship ran continually until the creation of its successor, Formula 3000, in 1985. In 2008 it was announced by the FIA that Formula Two would return in 2009 in the form of the FIA Formula Two Championship. This series was discontinued after the 2012 season.
The Formula 3000 was created by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile in 1985 to become the final step for drivers before entering Formula One. Formula Two had become too expensive and was dominated by works-run cars with factory engines. Formula 3000 offered quicker, cheaper, more open racing. The series began as an open formula, but in 1986 tyres were standardized, followed by engines and chassis in 1996. The series ran until 2004 and was replaced in 2005 by the GP2 Series.
International Formula Master, a.k.a. Formula Super 2000, was conceived as a competitor for Formula Three. It started in 2005 as the 3000 Pro Series, organised by Peroni Promotion. MTC Organisation took over in 2006 and turned it into a support series for the WTCC. Drivers used second-hand Formula 2000 cars made by Tatuus that were powered by a 250 hp Honda K20A engine.
A1 Grand Prix (A1GP) was unique in its field in that competitors solely represented their nation as opposed to themselves or a team, the usual format in most formula racing series. As such, it was often promoted as the "World Cup of Motorsport". Also, the series attracted equal numbers of (former or future) Formula One drivers and IndyCar Series drivers. The concept was founded by Sheikh Al Maktoum of Dubai in 2004, but sold to the FIA in 2005. The races were held in the traditional Formula One off-season, the northern hemisphere winter. Between 2005 and 2009 29 countries from five continents participated.
Using 750 hp V12 engines, Superleague Formula introduced team sponsorship by association football clubs. In qualifying, the link with football was also present as the series employed a system based on a group stage to knock-out format used in some football tournaments. Another unique feature of Superleague Formula was the Super Final, a five-lap shootout between the six best drivers of a weekend. In 2010, the series offered the biggest prize fund in European motorsport with the champion set to earn €1 million. In theory, it would be possible for a driver to earn up to €2.2 million over the course of the season. This was all done to give drivers a chance to earn a living from motorsport. By 2011, the link with football was fading with more than half the teams no longer associated with football teams, The later races of the season did not take place, and no further seasons were organised.
See: Formula Challenge Japan
Formula Asia V6 (Renault) was launched in 2006 to give Southeast Asian-based drivers a chance to progress from karting through junior single-seaters to international motorsport. Karun Chandhok, for example, won the 2006 championship and was rewarded with a test in a World Series by Renault car at Paul Ricard. Drivers ran with Tatuus chassis, a Renault 3.5L V6 engine and Michelin tyres.
The Auto GP World Series' roots can be traced back to 1999 and the Italian Formula 3000 series. At first, nearly all races were held in Italy, but the series expanded throughout Europe quickly. In 2001 the series became European Formula 3000 and in 2004 Superfund became the title sponsor, planning to set up the Formula Superfund series. However, the funding was pulled and the series was cancelled. Therefore, Coloni Motorsport re-established the Italian Formula 3000 and expanded this in 2006 to the Euroseries 3000. In 2010, the first-generation A1 Grand Prix cars replaced the Lola F3000 chassis and the Auto GP name was adopted.
The Formula 3000 International Championship was a motor racing series created by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) in 1985 to become the final preparatory step for drivers hoping to enter Formula One. Formula Two had become too expensive, and was dominated by works-run cars with factory engines; the hope was that Formula 3000 would offer quicker, cheaper, more open racing. The series began as an open specification, then tyres were standardized from 1986 onwards, followed by engines and chassis in 1996. The series ran annually until 2004, and was replaced in 2005 by the GP2 Series.
Formula Two, abbreviated to F2, also called Formula 2, is a type of open-wheel formula racing first codified in 1948. It was replaced in 1985 by Formula 3000, but revived by the FIA from 2009–2012 in the form of the FIA Formula Two Championship. The name returned in 2017 when the former GP2 Series became known as the FIA Formula 2 Championship.
Formula Three, also called Formula 3, abbreviated as F3, is a third-tier class of open-wheel formula racing. The various championships held in Europe, Australia, South America and Asia form an important step for many prospective Formula One drivers. Formula Three has traditionally been regarded as the first major stepping stone for F1 hopefuls – it is typically the first point in a driver's career at which most drivers in the series are aiming at professional careers in racing rather than being amateurs and enthusiasts. F3 is not cheap, but is regarded as a key investment in a young driver's future career. Success in F3 can lead directly to a Formula 2 seat or even a Formula One test or race seat.
Lola Cars International Ltd. was a British race car engineering company in operation from 1958 to 2012. The company was founded by Eric Broadley in Bromley, England, before moving to new premises in Slough, Buckinghamshire and finally Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, and endured for more than fifty years to become one of the oldest and largest manufacturers of racing cars in the world. Lola Cars started by building small front-engined sports cars, and branched out into Formula Junior cars before diversifying into a wider range of sporting vehicles. Lola was acquired by Martin Birrane in 1998 after the unsuccessful MasterCard Lola attempt at Formula One.
Super Formula, formerly known as Formula Nippon, is a type of formula racing and the top level of single-seater racing in Japan.
Dallara is an Italian race car manufacturer, founded by its current President Eng. Gian Paolo Dallara. After working for Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, and De Tomaso, Dallara wanted to fulfill his dream of working in the world of racing cars. In 1972 in his native village of Varano de' Melegari (Parma), Italy he created "Dallara Automobili". The successes in Formula 3 first in Italy then all over the world, its affirmation in America with the Indycar, the consultancies for important manufacturers and the constant attention to technology and innovation have all led Dallara to being recognized as one of the most important realities specialized in the designing, developing and production of racing cars.
The GP2 Series was a form of open wheel motor racing introduced in 2005 following the discontinuation of the long-term Formula One feeder series, Formula 3000. The GP2 format was conceived by Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore, while Ecclestone also has the rights to the name GP1. In 2010, the GP3 Series class was launched, as a feeder class for the GP2 series. In 2017, the series was rebranded as the FIA Formula 2 Championship.
The Atlantic Championship is a formula race car series with races throughout North America. It has been called Champ Car Atlantics, Toyota Atlantics, or just Atlantics or Formula Atlantic, although the latter two terms risk confusion with the Sports Car Club of America's amateur Formula Atlantics division.
Indy Lights is an American developmental automobile racing series sanctioned by IndyCar, currently known as Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires for sponsorship reasons. Indy Lights is the highest step on the Road to Indy, a program of racing series leading up to the IndyCar Series. The Indy Lights series has been promoted by Anderson Promotions since 2014, which also manages the Road to Indy program.
The Euroformula Open Championship is a junior formula racing series based in Spain. It was one of six national and international Formula Three championships in Europe and Scandinavia that together used to form an important part of the established "career ladder" below Formula One. The championship's first season was held in 2001. In 2006, it was branded as the Spanish F3 Championship by Toyota, in deference to its sole engine supplier. In 2020, the championship ceased to be a F3-championship and will share its specifications with Japan's Super Formula Lights based on the previous-generation Formula Three standards, primarily with a choice of engines.
The Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, formerly known as the Pro Mazda Championship, debuted as a new series in 2013, replacing the Star Mazda Championship which ceased operation in 2012 after 22 years. The series is sanctioned by IndyCar and owned and operated by Andersen Promotions. It is the second official step on the Road to Indy ladder system bridging the gap between the Cooper Tires U.S. F2000 Championship and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires. The series' champion is awarded a scholarship package to advance to Indy Lights competition the following year. It competes on all open-wheel disciplines: road courses, street courses, and ovals. The series' primary sponsor is Cooper Tires.
The BOSS GP Series is a motor racing series in Europe. The category originated in 1995 as the BOSS Formula series and evolved into the EuroBOSS Series.
The GP3 Series, or GP3 for short, was a single-seater motor racing series launched in 2010 as a feeder series for the GP2 Series, introduced by GP2 organiser Bruno Michel. GP3 followed the entire European leg of the Formula One series and the GP2 series as a support race for the two. Like the GP2 series, GP3 gave drivers the experience of the Grand Prix environment, and took advantage of the infrastructure, such as marshals and medical facilities, in place for the Formula One events. GP3 Series mainly raced on European circuits, but had appearances on other international race tracks as well with their most recent races in the only 2015 season at the Bahrain International Circuit in Bahrain and the Yas Marina Circuit in United Arab Emirates since 2010 season.
The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship is an American racing series using the American variation of the Formula Ford formula, "F2000", that resumed operation for the 2010 season. It is sanctioned by IndyCar, and is the first rung of the Road to Indy.
The 2014 Indy Lights season was a season of open wheel motor racing. It was the 29th season of the Indy Lights series and the 13th sanctioned by IndyCar, acting as the primary support series for the IndyCar Series. It began March 30, 2014 in St. Petersburg. The 2014 season was the first promoted by Andersen Promotions, who also promotes the other steps on the Mazda Road to Indy.
FIA Formula 4, also called FIA F4, is an open-wheel racing car category intended for junior drivers. There is no global championship, but rather individual nations or regions can host their own championships in compliance with a universal set of rules and specifications.
The 2017 FIA Formula 2 Championship was the fifty-first season of the second-tier of Formula One feeder championship and also the first season under the moniker of FIA Formula 2 Championship, a motor racing championship run in support of the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship. The championship is sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and is open to teams and drivers competing in cars complying with Formula 2 regulations.
The 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship was the fifty-second season of the second-tier of Formula One feeder championship and also second season under the moniker of FIA Formula 2 Championship, a motor racing championship for Formula 2 cars that is sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). It is an open-wheel racing category that serves as the second tier of formula racing in the FIA Global Pathway. The category run in support of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship, with each of the twelve rounds running in conjunction with a Grand Prix. It was the first FIA Formula 2 season to feature a new chassis and engine package.
The 2018 Bahrain FIA Formula 2 round was a pair of motor races for Formula 2 cars that took place on 7 and 8 April 2018 at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain as part of the FIA Formula 2 Championship. It was the first round of the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship and ran in support of the 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix.
The FIA Formula 3 Championship is a third-tier international single-seater racing championship and organised by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). The championship launched in 2019 as a feeder series for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship and FIA Formula 2 Championships. It was the result of a merger between two third-tier single-seater racing championships, the GP3 Series and the FIA Formula 3 European Championship as it was announced on 10 March 2018. The championship is part of the FIA Global Pathway consolidation project plan. Unlike its predecessor, the Formula 3 European Championship, the series runs exclusively in support of Formula One races.