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CAMS open to Formula Ford discussions

Mat Coch

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Tuesday 24th September, 2019 - 10:51am

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CAMS is open to discussing the position of Formula Ford

Following the collapse of the Australian Formula 4 Championship, the sport’s governing body is open to discussions with Formula Ford.

CAMS announced earlier this month that it will not continue to run the Formula 4 championship next year, citing low grid numbers.

Speaking with Speedcafe.com, CAMS CEO Eugene Arocca added that the lure of competing in Europe was also a major factor, with many youngsters simply bypassing the local competition.

In August 2013 CAMS announced that it would axe Formula Ford as a national category, stating it was financially unviable.

It sparked a bitter reaction from many competitors, creating a rift in public opinion between CAMS and Formula Ford.

However, following the demise of Formula 4, both Arocca and Formula Ford category administrator Phil Marrinon have stated they’re open to discussing where the category might sit in future.

“It’s a series that currently runs under sanction from CAMS and from an alternate body, that’s a primary issue,” Arocca explained to Speedcafe.com when asked if the door was open for a return for Formula Ford as a CAMS national championship.

“Secondly, it’s not a recognised championship in Australia by CAMS, and that would be a secondary issue.

“And thirdly I think if you were to compare with, as a relevant modern part of a recognised pathway for young drivers into Formula 1 and open wheelers, it is challenged.”

Despite his reservations, Arocca says he’s open to having discussions with Marrinon over the category’s future.

“I know Phil, he’s a ripping bloke, (I’m) happy to talk to Phil about what his position may be over Formula Ford, but it would have to go before the Board and be determined in terms of its consideration of its status in the current Australian make-up,” Arocca explained.

“It’s got a great state level engagement, it’s got historical connection, and I know it’s reaching its 50th anniversary shortly and we congratulate them for that.

“But it’s a fairly large assumption to conclude that with Formula 4 not racing as a championship in Australia from 2020 that Formula Ford automatically becomes the approved pathway for open wheelers in Australia under CAMS.”

On the other side of the fence, Marrinon has stated that he’d welcome the opportunity to discuss the future with CAMS, though his focus remains on carrying on with Formula Ford in its current state.

“No doubt CAMS will need time to work the next direction for formula cars in Australia,” he told Speedcafe.com.

“We’re looking to maintain our strategy of providing the best racing at the lowest cost for Formula Ford drivers. Nothing changes as far as I’m concerned.”

Marrinon also dismissed calls from Ian Richards, the man behind the Australian Formula 3 Championship, for an independent investigation into the collapse of Formula 4.

“I think it’d just be a waste of money,” Marrinon opined.

“There’s no point throwing stones at them (CAMS).

“Everybody will be there to say ‘we told you so’, and that’s fine and dandy but it’s not going to help anybody.

“My view is we want to look after motorsport and go back and find a pathway that will allow us to find another Daniel Ricciardo or Mark Webber, and concentrate on that.”

Since losing its national championship moniker, Formula Ford has continued to attract more than 20 cars for each event, and is deep in the throes of planning out its 2020 calendar.

That schedule will likely again comprise of a mixture of platforms that include a handful of high profile events and selected state level meetings.

CAMS has since revealed to Speedcafe.com that it plans to develop a driver academy at Sydney Motorsport Park, as part of its government funded Centre of Excellence, using the Formula 4 cars.

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