Fortec Motorsport boss Richard Dutton says his team’s decision not to enter Formula 2 in 2018 was due to a lack of drivers with suitable budget levels.
The British single-seater squad had been granted an entry to the second-tier category for this year, but it was announced last week that it would “step back” following a joint evaluation with F2 boss Bruno Michel.
The F2 field will feature 10 teams for a second consecutive season following Fortec’s decision, with reigning champion squad Russian Time returning after being left off the initial entry list and Racing Engineering switching to the European Le Mans Series.
“We’ve just put it on hold for one year,” Dutton told Motorsport.com.
“It’s not that we’re not going to do it, it’s that we’re not going to do it in 2018 because the drivers that we were working with have gone overseas and they don’t want to race in Europe this year and they’re going to race in America.
“We’re not prepared to do it half-heartedly, we’d rather do it to go out there and be strong. But if we don’t feel we can be strong, then we’ll put it off for another year.
“The idea is, [and] we’ve been working with Bruno on it and between us we decided it would be better rather than go out there and not look good, [to postpone the entry].
“We’ve got all the right people together to do it properly, we just didn’t perhaps have the drivers with the budgets to do it properly, so we’ve shelved it for one year.”
When asked if the team had come close to signing any drivers, Dutton replied: “Yeah, we did.”
“We came very close to signing two very good drivers but it didn’t happen in the end, so we weren’t prepared to compromise. We were either going to do it properly or not at all.
“We’d already got engineers from Formula 2 signed up and we were ready to go, but it just gives us a lot more time now to do it better for next year. We’re already working on next year now.”
Although it has delayed its F2 entry, Fortec will remain in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup, Euroformula Open, BRDC British Formula 3 and British Formula 4 championships in 2018.
It raced in Formula V8 3.5 last year in what proved the series' final-ever season [pictured top].