Russian Time boss questions F1 feeder system set-up

by Paul Hensby

Russian Time team boss Svetlana Strelnikova believes the decision by some Formula 1 teams to choose drivers from the FIA European Formula 3 Championship rather than through the GP2 Series makes it unclear to how the single-seater ladder system is working at present.

Russian Time have been part of GP2 since 2013 but the last five series champions have not gone straight into Formula 1, and two – Davide Valsecchi and Fabio Leimer – did not get there at all, while Formula 3 has provided both Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll in recent years.

Even the GP3 Series, supposedly the feeder series for GP2 have supplied more drivers, with three of the current grid – Valtteri Bottas, Daniil Kvyat and Esteban Ocon – former GP3 champions, and Strelnikova believes something needs to be done to address the issue, with the need to cut costs needing to be high on the agenda.

“Many now are trying to leapfrog GP2 – move up to F1 from Formula 3, for example,” said Strelnikova to “That makes it difficult for teams to structure their business.

“It’s unclear how it all works at the moment. What kind of system is being drawn up? If you can go to F1 straight from kindergarten, what’s the point of other championships?

“Before that, for many years, there was a working system – you go to a smaller formula after karting, then to F3, then you have either Formula Renault 3.5 or GP2.

“But now if people are coming from F3, bypassing GP2 and 3.5, you get the question of whether they’re even needed. Even 3.5 [now World Series Formula V8 3.5] is already too expensive for some, and we’re more expensive.”

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