Domenicali: F3 'strongest package' for juniors
11 February 2017 – Stefano Domenicali, President of the FIA Single-Seater Commission, believes European Formula 3 has emerged as the "strongest package" for drivers ascending the junior ladder.
The revised European Formula 3 championship was launched in 2012, with champions Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll having graduated to Formula 1, along with Max Verstappen.
Formula 3 came in for criticism throughout the 2015 campaign, amid a litany of accidents and incidents, with entry lists in excess of 30 drivers for each round.
Last year featured a significantly reduced field, with most rounds involving around 20 drivers, and Domenicali believes the change has made Formula 3 a more viable series.
"In 2016 we took the important decision to introduce limits to the number of entries in order to avoid the troubles we sometimes had in the previous year when there were up to 37 participants in a single event," he said.
"This made management really difficult and was detrimental not only to the show, but also to the environment that the drivers need to make the best out of their experience in the category.
"With a more selective grid, it naturally increases the level of quality of the drivers.
"This happened in coincidence with a difficult moment for all the young categories, as the numbers confirm.
"While in 2015 the cumulative number of drivers racing in F3, Formula Renault and GP3 was 87, it decreased to 70 in 2016, 22 of which as an average raced in our championship.
"In this climate, I believe F3 has emerged as the strongest package for drivers moving up the single-seater pyramid.
"This year, it looks like we may have a slightly higher number of competitors, allowing us to reach the self-imposed limit which we feel is the optimum balance between quality and quantity."
The championship recently outlined new sporting regulations for the upcoming campaign.