European F3 to help fund sophomore campaigns for top rookies
The FIA Formula 3 European Championship has announced a prize fund for its leading rookie drivers, which will be introduced from this year onwards.
The series is to set up a reward of €100,000 to its 2016 rookie champion and of half that amount to drivers who finished second in third in the rookie standings.
The money in question is payable only if the drivers in question return to the series for a second year in 2017, with the €100,000 believed to be around a fifth of the minimal budget required.
This year's rookie championship remains a close affair seven rounds into the 10-round season, the top four drivers separated by just 18 points after Spa-Francorchamps.
Motopark driver Joel Eriksson heads the order, followed by Van Amersfoort Racing's Anthoine Hubert, Hitech GP's Ben Barnicoat and Prema Powerteam's Ralf Aron.
"The FIA considers the FIA F3 European Championship as the most suitable platform for drivers learning their way at this particular stage of the single-seater ladder," said FIA's Single-Seater Commission president Stefano Domenicali.
"To prepare drivers in the most effective way for the next step on the ladder, we think it is normally best for a driver to remain in the series for at least two consecutive seasons.
"The newly introduced prize money is a reward for good results during a rookie season, but should at the same time encourage the drivers to stay for another year and gain further experience."
Domenicali also confirmed that the FIA intends to expand the prize fund in 2017, introducing financial rewards for drivers and teams in the championship's main standings.
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