Formula racing

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 Two, 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.

Formula racing
First lap 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix (3)
Team membersYes
Mixed genderYes


5 Stoffel Vandoorne at Lung Wo Rd, Man Yiu St (20190310161031)
Stoffel Vandoorne driving a Gen2 Formula E car at the 2019 Hong Kong ePrix.

Formula One

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.

Formula E

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[1]. 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".[2] 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.[3]


GP2-Belgium-2013-Sprint Race-Leimer overtakes Palmer
Fabio Leimer overtakes Jolyon Palmer during the 2013 Belgian GP2 race
Carlos Sainz Jr en Motorland
Carlos Sainz Jr. during the second race of the 2014 FR 3.5 season
Dome F110 left 2014 Super GT Suzuka
Dome F110 on display in 2014

Formula 2 and WSR

Formula 2

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.

Formula Renault 3.5

In 2003, the most senior Formula Renault was the Formula Renault V6 Eurocup, which supported the ETCC and FIA GT's "Super Racing Weekends". After just two seasons Renault merged the series with the World Series by Nissan to form the World Series by Renault (WSR), which supported the Formula One Grand Prix. This series includes Formula Renault 3.5, Formula Renault 2.0, and Formula Renault 1.6.


GP3 Series

The GP3 Series was launched by Bruno Michel in 2010 as a feeder series for GP2. So far, nine drivers have competed in Formula One after GP3 – 2010 champion Esteban Gutiérrez, 2011 champion Valtteri Bottas, 2013 champion Daniil Kvyat, Jean-Éric Vergne, Roberto Merhi, Esteban Ocon, Alexander Rossi, Carlos Sainz Jr. and Rio Haryanto. The GP3 Series will be rebranded as FIA Formula 3 Championship in 2019.

Formula Three and Formula 4

Formula Three

Formula Three has a long history, with at least ten active championships around the world. It was created by the FIA in 1950 as the low cost entry point to single-seater formula racing. In 1959, it was replaced by a technically similar formula called Formula Junior, before Formula Three was reintroduced in 1964.[4] Like the other FIA-derived formulae, F3 is an open class that permits a choice of chassis and engines. Notable championships include the FIA European Formula Three Championship, the British Formula Three Championship, and the All-Japan Formula Three Championship.

Formula 4

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.


Heamin Choi Pro Mazda
Heamin Choi during the 2009 Pro Mazda race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

IndyCar Series

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 tyre 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.

Indy Lights

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 cancelled 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 less races. A new Dallara IL-15 with an Advanced Engine Research 2-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine will be the specification starting in 2015.

Indy Pro 2000 Championship

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 tyres.

U.S. F2000

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.


Super Formula

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.

All-Japan Formula Three

See: Formula Three

Formula Challenge Japan

The Formula Challenge Japan (FCJ) is promoted as a young driver development project jointly by Honda, Toyota and Nissan. It replaced the Formula Dream. The first season was in 2006 and carried on from the defunct Formula Dream series. Each participant needs to be younger than 26 years old and possess a National A racing license, but not having raced in Formula Three or above. The cars run on a Tatuus chassis, Dunlop and a 200 hp 2.0L engine, similar to that of a Formula Renault 2.0 car. As of 2009, the series supports the Formula Nippon. In 2015, the series will be replaced with Japan Formula 4.

Other Formula series

Felipe Nasr FBMW 2009 Spa-Francorchamps
Felipe Nasr during the 2009 Formula BMW race at Spa-Francorchamps

Defunct series

A1 Grand Prix, Kyalami - The Netherlands
Team The Netherlands during the 2009 A1 Grand Prix at Kyalami
FV6A Launch
Formula Asia V6 launch event in Hong Kong in 2006

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.

Formula Two (1947–1985; 2009–2012)

The Formula Two regulations were first defined in 1947 as a form of B-class below Formula One.[5] 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.

Formula 3000 (1985–2004)

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 (2005–2009)

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 (2005–2009)

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.

Superleague Formula (2008–2011)

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.

Formula Dream (1999–2005)

See: Formula Challenge Japan

Formula V6 Asia (2006–2009)

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.

Auto GP

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.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ FIA (2017). "Formula E Season 2017-2018". Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Championship Overview". Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  3. ^ Formula E (31 July 2017). "Agag: This has been our take-off season". Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  4. ^ British F3 Champions Archived 17 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine From Retrieved on 28 August 2007.
  5. ^ Formula Two Archived 20 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine From Retrieved on 28 August 2007.
ADAC Formel Masters

ADAC Formel Masters was an ADAC sanctioned open wheel racing series based in Germany, held annually from 2008 to 2014. It was replacement of the local Formula BMW championship. The first season was in 2008 and is the main feeder series to the ATS Formula 3 Cup (German Formula Three Championship). Like Formula Ford, French F4 Championship and Formula Abarth, the Formel Masters is aimed at karting graduates. In 2015 it was replaced by the ADAC Formula 4.

China Formula Grand Prix

China Formula Grand Prix (CFGP) (Chinese: 中国方程式大奖赛), formerly known as Asian Geely Formula International Open Competition, is an open wheel formula racing class in China.

The car, co-designed by Geely, China's biggest private-owned vehicle producer and racing cars production company Van Diemen, marks the first time that a Chinese domestic car producer is involved in the racing car design.CFGP uses a 1.8-litre 4G18 engine; the car weighs 490 kg and has a maximum speed of 240 km/h. The engine can produce 140 bhp at 6,300 rpm and 172 N/m of torque at 4,100 rpm. After an adjustment to the ECU, the engine can rev up to 8,500 rpm producing 200 bhp.

Formula 1000

Formula 1000 is an open wheel class of Formula car racing, with professional and amateur series worldwide. Formula 1000 gets its name from the 1000 cc superbike engine used to power a single seat, open wheel race car with fully adjustable wings and suspension. The F1000 class, known in SCCA as FB, is similar to racing classes FA (Formula Atlantic) and FC (Formula Continental). In the United States, Formula 1000 races in the North American Formula 1000 Championship presented by American Racer Tire as well as SCCA amateur competition.

Formula 1000 cars can be purchased new, ready-to-race for $40,000 to $75,000. SCCA rules also allow for converting an existing Formula car (e.g., FC) to meet F1000 requirements. A converted older Van Diemen chassis with a used superbike engine ready-to-race can be found for $25,000 to $45,000. A conversion kit for your current FC car can be purchased for between $8,000 and $12,000.

Formula 1000 RaceCars can reach speeds in excess of 170mph; brake and corner beyond 3 g's; and provide a challenge to any driver, engineer, or team. Drivers moving into Formula 1000 from lower formula racing are astonished to feel the power and braking ability in a 1000 pound superbike powered car.

Formula Abarth

Formula Abarth (formerly known as Formula Azzurra) is an open wheel racing series based in Italy and Europe (since the 2011 season). Held since 2005, it is aimed at karting graduates, like the Formula Ford, French F4 Championship and ADAC Formel Masters.

During 2008 and 2009 the main Formula Azzurra category has been known as the Trofeo Alboreto. For 2010, Abarth have committed to a five-year initiative that will see the series being renamed Formula Abarth.After the success of 2010 season, in which competed international drivers and teams, a new European series has been created with a prize offered in collaboration with Ferrari Driver Academy.

In 2014, the Formula Abarth was replaced by the Italian Formula 4 Championship.

Formula Acceleration 1

Formula Acceleration 1 (FA1) was a single make, open wheel auto racing series. It was unusual 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.

FA1 was created in 2014 as the signature category in the Acceleration 2014 series of motorsport festivals. Rather than developing their own car, the series reduced costs substantially by using the Lola B05/52 which was used in the early years of the A1 Grand Prix series. They also continued to use the same 3.4 litre V8 engine built by Zytek Engineering. On 22 December 2014, it was announced that the series would be merged with Auto GP in 2015. This to ensure that at least 18 cars will participate in each race. It was also announced that the 2015 champion will be granted a Formula 1 test. However, the season was halted after two rounds due to the lack of entrants.

Formula Dream

Formula Dream was an open wheel racing series based in Japan. The series was replaced by Formula Challenge Japan in 2006.

Formula Lightning

Formula Lightning was an electric type of single-seat open-wheel formula racing. Rather unknown to the public, it was held for Colleges of Engineering student teams who built and designed these vehicles which were able to reach speeds up to 143 mph (230 km/h) and competed on both oval and road course type race tracks.

Each participant in the Formula Lightning series purchased an identical rolling chassis, then designed and built the electric drive system for their vehicle. There were no changes allowed in the chassis design without majority approval of the Formula Lightning Owners Association. This ensured student teams could concentrate on the electric drive without the necessity of designing specialized mechanical chassis components.

These vehicles raced first in 1994 at the Grand Prix of Cleveland CART race and since then have participated in venues across the country. The final official series race was held in October 2004 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The Ohio State University was the leading series champion.

Formula Maruti

Formula Maruti is a single-seater, open-wheel class in motorsport made and raced in India. Many of the top teams in Indian motorsports have run in the series, including Team Lakshmi Mills Superspeeds, Team JK, Team MRF, Gabriel Racing, WSRF Racing, McDowell Racing, and Team Valvoline. Top Indian drivers have started their career racing in Formula Maruti, most notably Narain Karthikeyan, Parthiva Sureshwaren, Karun Chandhok and other drivers who have had quite a successful outing in this form are Ajay Kini, Mohit Aryan, Goutham Parekh, Narendhran, Sudarshan Rao, Kartik Shankar.

Formula Masters China

Formula Masters China, FMCS (Chinese: 青年冠军方程式系列赛) (previously known as Formula Pilota China), is a single-seater racing series based in Asia. The series was created in 2011 after the success of the Formula Abarth championship that was created a year before.

Formula Mazda

Formula Mazda is a class of relatively affordable open wheel formula racing.

Formula Mazda has its own class in SCCA club racing, and there is a North American professional series named Pro Mazda Championship that is part of IndyCar's Road to Indy ladder system. The cars are very popular; seeing a field of 40 or more cars at a race is quite common. Many drivers aspiring to the top classes of racing use the pro series to hone and demonstrate their talent. In 2006, the 2004 Formula Mazda champion, Michael McDowell, drove in the American Champ Car series, and Scott Speed, won in Formula Mazda in 2002.

In terms of both cost and performance, Formula Mazda lies between Formula Ford and Formula Atlantic, that is, close to a Formula Three and a Formula Renault 2.0. A full season in the professional Star Mazda series costs around US$200,000 – US$300,000 in 2005.

Formula RUS

Formula RUS (Формула Русь) was a Russian formula racing class, corresponding to FIA's Formula Е category. The class was designed to help beginners and young karters make the transition to auto racing. The series ran from 2002 to 2007.

Formula Rolon

Formula Rolon, also known as Formula Rolon Chevrolet and later Formula Rolon 2010 is an open wheel single seater Formula Racing car made and raced in India. They run in the single make championships held in the tracks of Coimbatore and Chennai. The car is similar to Formula Asia, and was powered by 1600cc Chevrolet and later Suzuki engines with a racing gear box. The car was launched in Mumbai December 2005 and made its debut in Coimbatore track on September 2006. The 2010 season was its last season as LG Sports announced that it will not enter Formula Rolon for the 2011 season.

Formula Three

Formula Three, also called Formula 3 or 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.

Formula Two

Formula Two, abbreviated to F2, 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.

Group 7 (racing)

Group 7 was a set of regulations for automobile racing created by the Commission Sportive Internationale (CSI), a division of the modern Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile.

There were two distinct sets of Group 7 regulations:

Group 7 two-seater racing cars (1966 to 1975)

Group 7 international formula racing cars (1976 to 1981)

Italian F4 Championship

Italian Formula 4 Championship is the first formula racing series regulated according to FIA Formula 4 regulations. The inaugural season was the 2014 Italian F4 Championship, effectively replacing the Formula Abarth.

MRF Challenge

MRF Challenge is an open-wheel motorsport formula based in India organized by Madras Motor Sports Club.

Speed Circuit

Speed Circuit was an Avalon Hill game (previously published by 3M), currently (2009) out of print. The 3M edition featured the grand prix circuits of Monaco, Monza and Watkins Glen. and was first published in 1971.Its solid body of rules allowed a lot of optional house rules. Also, a lot of players could be involved, with races of up to twelve cars usually being very competitive and rewarding for the players.

Another advantage was the release of extra tracks by Avalon Hill, to allow the running of championship seasons, and the relative facility for players to design their own tracks.

The game was based on a points distribution system to specify characteristics of each car: Start Speed, Acceleration, Deceleration, Top Speed and Tire Wear. Each space moved was equal to 20 MPH.

While Speed Circuit is out of print the game is still actively played at boardgame conventions such as PREZCON held in Charlottesville, VA, annually in February and at WBC (World Boardgaming Championships) held in Seven Springs, PA, annually in July/August. Novice players are welcome to learn the game at these events.

In 2016 UltraPro ran a Kickstarter to publish a revision of the game under the new name Championship Formula Racing. Championship Formula Racing was published in 2017 and continues to be played in a number of Play-by-eMail and in-person events including new leagues based in Detroit and San Marino.

Super Formula Championship

Super Formula, formerly known as Formula Nippon, is a type of formula racing and the top level of single-seater racing in Japan.

Formula Nippon evolved from the Japanese Formula 2000 series begun in 1973 by way of the Japanese Formula Two and Japanese Formula 3000 championships. For the most part, the Japanese racing series have closely followed their European counterparts in terms of technical regulations, but there have been some important exceptions.

Classes of auto racing
Active Formula racing
Defunct Formula racing
Active one-make formulae
Defunct one-make formulae
Active touring car racing
Defunct touring car racing
Stock car racing
Oval racing
Active rallying
Defunct rallying
Active sports prototypes
Defunct sports prototypes
Active grand touring
Defunct grand touring
Active drag racing
Defunct drag racing
Off-road racing
Bicycle racing
Animal racing
Motor racing
Multi-sport racing


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