MAJOR CHANGES IN STORE FOR 2010 F3 AUSTRALIAN DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP
Formula 3 Australia will introduce a thoroughly revamped race weekend format at the first round of the 2010 Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship for the CAMS Gold Star award, at Wakefield Park Raceway on March 6 - 7.
The new format for a new decade - the first major change in the series race format since the year 2000 - will offer more race weekend excitement for fans, teams and drivers and offer competitors more racing throughout the course of a season.
The new format also brings the championship into line with higher-level European formula on the path to Formula 1, offering drivers competing domestically a chance to improve their skills in both shorter sprint races and longer feature races that are the major component of series such as GP2 or Indy Lights.
Elements of the new format were trialled with great success at the Sandown F3 SuperPrix last year, receiving almost universally positive feedback from the competitor base.
A revised points system retains the basic structure of the existing format by continuing to reward both the race winners and those who are consistent over an entire season.
The existing points system has produced title fights that have produced final-round showdowns between two or more drivers for the past three seasons - something expected to continue under the new system.
Details of the all new format for the F3ADC include:
Qualifying will now be held in a single session, on most cases on the Saturday morning of a race meeting. A 15 minute session will set grid positions seven and backwards, with the top six cars progressing to a top six shootout called the "Quick Six".
Two Sprint Races
Two sprint races, at approximately 15 - 20 minutes each, will be held at each round, one on Saturday afternoon and one Sunday morning.
The grid for race one will be based on qualifying order whilst race two will be based on the finishing positions of the "Saturday Sprint".
Championship points will be awarded to the top ten in each race.
Sunday afternoon will witness the feature race of the weekend, over a lap distance equal or nearest to 30 minutes.
The grid for the main race will be decided on a combined point score from the two sprint races, allowing drivers who have scored well in one sprint race and not the other to still obtain a good grid position for the main race.
The points loading is increased for the feature over the sprint races, and the top three from the feature will be recognised on the podium as the event winner and top finishers for the entire round.
The new race format will increase the number of races from 16 to 24 across a season.
Sprint Races will award 12 points to the winner, 9 for second and then 8, 7, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1 for 10th place.
Feature races will retain the existing point score, with 20 to the winner, 15 for second and then 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1.
One bonus point will be awarded to pole position, and one bonus point will be awarded to the fastest lap holder in each race across the weekend.
One further alteration is that all cars entered in the 2010 championship will be eligible for outright points, irrespective for class. This will allow for drivers producing exceptional performances in older cars - in the same way that Tom Tweedie was a regular top four threat in his F304 Dallara throughout the 2009 season - to have a chance to win the Gold Star.
Drivers nominated for the Scholarship Class will score class points, as in the past, as well as outright points.
Formula 3 Australia will launch a new website to reflect the new era for the championship prior to round one.