European F3 Open Championship
European F3 Open logo
|Drivers' champion||Niccolò Schirò|
|Teams' champion||RP Motorsport|
The European F3 Open Championship (formerly the Spanish Formula Three Championship) is a junior formula racing series based in Spain. It is one of six national and international Formula Three championships in Europe and Scandinavia that together form an important part of the established "career ladder" below Formula One. The championship's first season was held in 2001. In 2006, it was branded as the Spanish F3 Championship by Toyota, in deference to its sole engine supplier.
The Spanish Formula Three Championship was formed during Spain's recent growth period in motor racing that began with the Euro Open Movistar by Nissan, which eventually became the World Series by Renault when the two companies' motor racing programs were reorganised. The new championship replaced the previously existing Super Formula Toyota, a one-make series with performance similar to F3.
The European F3 Open championship has become successful by actively taking measures to control budget requirements. This provides a more achievable option for drivers who lack the major sponsorship portfolio that is required by leading Euroseries teams, and would otherwise have to look elsewhere for their next step up the career ladder.
With Renault's backing, the World Series has developed into a championship from which drivers can reach Formula One, and three major Spanish teams are established in GP2. This has fostered new opportunities for the graduates of Spanish F3, which has, in turn, made the championship itself a success.
In recent years the Championship has become much less centred in Spain, with races across Europe, and has successfully attracted famous non-Spanish teams to take part. The first was the British outfit Team West-Tec who went on to win two Driver's Championship titles in their first three seasons, and which were followed a year later by Italy's RP Motorsport who have won races each year since joining.
Like British Formula Three, the series incorporates a second championship class for chassis specifications from the previous generation. The Copa was created in 2005, and provides an opportunity for drivers without competitive budgets, who would otherwise be left unable to progress from cheaper formulae. The name is derived from the chassis specification that all Copa entrants must use: the Dallara F306.
The European F3 Open Championship employs an approach to chassis and engine choice that is also used in Asian F3, in which the open Formula Three system of multiple chassis and engine manufacturers is rejected in favour of a single choice of supplier. All competitors must use Toyota's F3 engine, and chassis from the ubiquitous Italian constructor, Dallara. Championship-class competitors generally use a chassis specification from the current generation, the Dallara F308. Copa Class competitors use the previous version, the Dallara F306.
 F1 tests
The exclusive use of the Toyota engine prompted Toyota to offer a Formula One test to each year's champion. The first driver to benefit from this was 2004 champion Borja García, who later graduated to GP2. The F1 prize test is likely to be revived for the 2010 Champion.
Between 2001 and 2005, the Spanish F3 Championship had seven rounds, each with two races. Exceptions to this included the Valencia round in 2002 and the Jerez round in 2003, each of which had only one race, and Albacete, which held a single-race event in addition to its regular two-race event in 2005.
In every season from its inception until 2007, the championship made a regular visit to Estoril in Portugal. The 2006 season, which was expanded to eight rounds, included the championship's first visit to Magny-Cours in France.
Since 2008, the series has also visited Spa in Belgium, Monza in Italy, and Donington Park in England, and is also scheduled to visit Brands Hatch in 2010.
- "GT Sport and Dunlop extend tire supply agreement for three years". European F3 Open Championship (GT Sport). Retrieved 28 November 2011.
- Racing Engineering Season Preview F1prospects.com, April 8, 2006. Retrieved on February 2, 2007.
- Over the Weekend – April 29–30, 2006 F1prospects.com, May 1, 2006. Retrieved on February 2, 2007.
- 2004 Spanish F3 Entry List, Speedsportmag.com. Retrieved on February 2, 2007.
- Toyota F1 test for Spanish champ Autosport-atlas.com, January 28, 2005. Retrieved on February 2, 2007.
- 2006 Spanish F3 Calendar Formula3.cc, November 26, 2005. Retrieved on February 2, 2007.
- European F3 Open Official Website
- Speedsport on Spanish F3
- European F3 Open Championship at forix.com