The thoughts of Chris Gurton on motorsport, his photography, his work and his life in general. The thoughts, views and opinion's expressed in this blog are those of Chris Gurton and not necessarily those of any publication that he contributes to.

British F3

I will admit, open wheel racing isn’t my favourite form of motorsport and although I like Formula One, I’m not a self proclaimed die hard fan. I used to be pretty obsessed with it when I was a child though. I was a huge Nigel Mansell fan, in fact, I even share my birthday and year with his daughter Chloe and he won his Championship title on the 16th of August 1992. Mine (and Chloe’s) 10th Birthday. That was a pretty special day for me. But that’s enough of the nostalgia, as the Schumacher Era saw me lose interest somewhat in Formula One and I never regained the love I once had.

Image Copyright Chris Gurton Photography

British F3, A Stepping Stone Towards F1

Image Copyright Chris Gurton Photography

Jean-Eric Vergne, 2010 British F3 Champion

But over the last few years I have seen my fair share of open wheel racing at various circuits across the country and have appreciated them for what they are. Besides, as a motorsport fan I love being at a circuit and I’ve witnessed some great racing and the rise of some current Formula One stars. After all, these championships are the proving ground for the Holy Grail, Formula One. A huge stepping stone in the quest to become a superstar Formula One racing driver comes in the form of the British F3 championship. With the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Mark Webber, Rubens Barichello, Mika Hakkinen and Ayrton Senna having graced the British Series, it’s easy to see that British F3 provides a critical role in developing World Champions of the future.

However it is sad to hear that the British F3 championship announced that it was cutting the series back to just four rounds this season with two of them to be raced overseas. Increasing costs and competition from a number of other single seat championships both in the UK and abroad probably proving a major factor as drivers seek more cost effective ways of reaching the top level.

I’m not here to criticise the series and the current difficulties it is experiencing or point out mistakes or how it should be improved, as to be honest, I don’t really know the answers myself. But I will reiterate one thing I have spoken about many times before, and that is lack of support from fans. I have always been increasingly frustrated at how some huge British Racing Series never get the fan support they so deserve. I have been blown away by the huge crowds the British Touring Car Championship pulls in, yet the British F3 championship, which runs in conjunction with the British GT championship during its race weekends only see’s a fraction of the crowd the BTCC does.

Image Copyright Chris Gurton Photography

Talented British Racer Jack Harvey won the 2012 Championship

How many F1 fans are out there? Many of whom would probably call themselves, ‘Huge Fans’ or ‘Die Hard Fans’. Yet also, many will complain that Formula One is elitist, expensive and inaccessible for the everyday ‘normal’ fans. How many of these fans have sat in front of the TV moaning at the celebrities on the Grid before a big race who clearly have no interest in the sport and are only there because they have been given a free pass and it’s the ‘Fashionable’ thing to do? Yes, I hate it too. But how many have ventured out to watch some live motorsport and support the possible Formula One stars of the future in the British F3? With weekend tickets for around £30, (great value compared to a premiership football match) three championship races per weekend and the chance of watching the mechanics at work, wandering the pit lane and getting up close to the drivers and cars, what is there stopping you? You’d be surprised at how many Motorsport celebs you can see blending into the paddock too not wanting to hog the limelight. You never know, in a few years time, you could be watching one of the current crop of F3 racers stand atop An F1 podium or lifting the world championship trophy and you could turn to your mates and say, ‘I met that guy once.’ Or ‘I saw him race and supported him before he made the big time.’

Image Copyright Chris Gurton Photography

British F3 gives you a chance to get up close and personal to the F1 stars of the future

I could go on about how the media should be doing their bit to bring some of these great British race series to the attention of the public, but I’ve done that before. Plus most of you reading this will be big motorsport fans and know about these Championships anyway, so as fans, it’s only right we do our bit and go and support. Before it’s too late.

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