Celis Jr. defends Formula V8 3.5 status
23 July 2017 – Force India test driver Alfonso Celis Jr. has defended the status of the World Series Formula V8 3.5 championship, and feels the category is still "really competitive".
Formula Renault 3.5 emerged as a leading feeder series, with champions including Robert Kubica (in 2005), Kevin Magnussen (in 2013) and Carlos Sainz Jr. (in 2014).
However, the loss of Renault's backing prior to 2016 led the bulk of F1-backed youngsters to compete in other series, with only 12 full-time drivers racing in V8 3.5 this season.
Celis Jr., fourth in this year's standings, 13 points behind leader Matevos Issakyan, defended the championship's credibility, and feels the leading group is still just as strong as other categories.
"The top six cars are within the fight to win the championship," Celis Jr. said when asked about 3.5's status by GPUpdate.net.
"It's been always hard to enter the top 10, it's just like any other championship I think.
"When the field is bigger it's still the top 10 that is the hard bit and then the rest of the pack is just the rest of the pack I would say.
"But always the five or six cars in the top is really competitive and that hasn't changed."
Celis Jr. added: "I would invite people to test the car and see where they are."
Celis Jr. will return to the cockpit of Force India's VJM10 during practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix, in place of Esteban Ocon, for his second FP1 run of the campaign.