Contract signed between Ford and British motorsport governing body, the MSA, for development of new young-driver single-seater seriesFord EcoBoost power for new carbon-fibre monocoque chassisNew Formula Ford championship to feature on popular BTCC support-race packageNew Formula Ford championship to be run in accordance with the FIA Formula 4 Regulations, bringing opportunity to aspiring young drivers
Formula Ford is to adopt the FIA Formula 4 Regulations and guidelines in Britain from 2015 onwards. The move is confirmed today with the signing of a contract with Britain’s motorsport governing body, the MSA, which will see Ford create and develop a new race series to fulfil the FIA’s vision for a clearer path for young drivers looking to progress to Formula 1.
The move will see the adoption of a new carbon-fibre monocoque chassis which meets FIA F3 safety standards. The cars will be powered by the potent and durable 1.6-litre Ford EcoBoost engine which has been successfully race-proven in Formula Ford during the last three seasons of competition.
The new Formula Ford championship will continue to feature on the live-televised supporting bill for UK motorsport’s biggest spectator draw, the British Touring Car Championship.
Welcoming today’s announcement, Gerard Quinn, Head of Ford Racing in Europe, said: “We are very pleased that many months of work has brought us to the point today where we can announce our plans for the long-term future of Formula Ford. We have worked closely with the MSA and the FIA, and in particular with the FIA’s Single Seat Commission President Gerhard Berger, to bring the project to fruition.
“The FIA has a focused objective – it wishes to see a clearly set-out path leading to Formula 1, and has created regulations aimed at securing consistent organisational standards, technical fairness, sporting relevancy and stability. Ford is delighted to be working with the MSA and the FIA to bring those plans to fruition.
“Over its 47-year history, Formula Ford has made a massive contribution to motorsport and we are delighted that it will continue to be at the forefront of young driver development.”
“This is a really exciting development for UK motor racing,” said Rob Jones, MSA Chief Executive. “The MSA has been committed to the development of British talent for many years and we are delighted to confirm our support of this championship through the involvement of the MSA Academy. We believe that the new Formula Ford will provide a compelling proposition and offer the best possible learning experience for young drivers in this country.”
It is anticipated that chassis meeting the FIA Formula 4 Technical Regulations – which include a carbon-fibre chassis meeting FIA F3 safety regulations, front and rear wings, slick tyres and semi-auto ‘paddle’ gearshift system – will begin testing and development in late summer with EcoBoost power, at which point further technical details will be revealed along with firm pricing.
The aim is to meet the FIA’s cost target of €38,000 for a rolling chassis equipped with data-logging and paddle-shift gearchange system. Continuing to be part of the TOCA package will see the series run over a 30-race programme annually.
Formula Ford evolutionFormula Ford was conceived in 1967 and caught on like wildfire: in 1968 there were three separate championships being organised in Britain and two years on that number had grown to seven. Formula Ford reached mainland Europe and the USA in 1969 and by 1971 had spread as far afield as Brazil.
Formula Ford has been instrumental in the development of the careers of many World Champions, not least Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell and the most successful driver in the history of the sport, Michael Schumacher. F1 Champions James Hunt, Emerson Fittipaldi, Jody Scheckter, Damon Hill, Mika Hakkinen and Jenson Button all cut their racing teeth in Formula Ford.
In recent years the competitive revolution and the continuing quest for improved driver safety has seen Formula Ford evolve and adapt. The original pushrod Kent 1600cc engines made way in 1995 for the more powerful Zetec 1.8-litre unit. This was replaced in 2006 by the Duratec 1.6. In 2012 the lightweight turbocharged 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine found in the highly acclaimed Fiesta ST was adopted by Formula Ford along with a raft of safety measures which have led to the chassis we see racing today.
The changes planned for 2015 and beyond will enable Formula Ford to maintain its much-envied position as the place for aspiring World Champions to begin their careers.