Motorsport Australia to discuss re-establishment of Formula Ford Championship
By Mat Coch
Wednesday 5th May, 2021 - 2:37pm
Motorsport Australia, though the Australian Motor Racing Commission, has formed a working group with a view to the possible reintroduction of the Australian Formula Ford Championship.
It’s recognition from the country’s governing body of the need for a junior open wheel category with which to develop young talent.
Formula Ford historically filled that void before CAMS (as Motorsport Australia was then known) elected to shift its focus to the FIA aligned Formula 4 platform.
Domestically, the category failed to flourish, with low grid numbers.
Having lost its national recognition from Motorsport Australia for the 2016 season, Formula Ford could have that status reinstated.
“I think there’s recognition from everyone that Formula Ford has for a very long time played a really important role in our development pathway,” Mike Smith, Director of Motorsport and Commercial Operations for Motorsport Australia, told Speedcafe.com.
“And I think there’s also recognition from a lot of stakeholders that we need to try and reinstate Formula Ford or a category like that into that space, to continue to develop young drivers who want either a domestic or an international career.
“One of the things that we learned, one of the many things that we learned, with our experience with F4 was that we didn’t really bring the industry along with us,” he added.
“So we’re going to be talking to the Formula Ford people, Phil Marrinon from the Formula Ford Association is on the working group, Mick Ritter’s on the working group.
“It’ll be very much an industry made decision, whatever course it takes.”
That could result in anything from a full reinstatement of the category as a national championship, to no action at all.
It could also see the cars develop, should that be the direction the working group views is best.
“We have no idea where this is going to lead to,” Smith explained.
“What we do want to do is be really clear with the industry on what we’re doing, and where we’re going to head.
“It might be that they say, you know what, we just want to stick with what we’re currently doing and make some minor adjustments, it might be that they want to evolve to a different type of car or a new car.
“But what we do want to do is give industry plenty of notice.
“So we would be looking to make a recommendation to the board based on all the input we get from the stakeholders [by the] middle of the year, and then we would make announcements from there.”
Smith’s comments come following rumours that Motorsport Australia was set to reintroduce Formula 4 into Australia, with a new Tatuus chassis.
That was categorically denied by Smith, who underscored the organisation’s focus on finding the right solution for the Australian market.
“There’s absolutely no suggestion that we’re reintroducing formula 4 with a Tatuus chassis,” Smith clarified.
“That rumour is completely that; it’s a rumour.”
The working group is set to meet for the first time next week with a target of offering recommendations to the Motorsport Australia Board later in the year.
“The first meeting’s on May 10, and we’re going to be calling on people, interested parties, to make a submission to the to the working group.
“And even beyond that, we’ll be speaking to team owners, manufacturers, Karting Australia, all sorts of stakeholders, just to make sure we get as much buy-in as we possibly can.”
Joining Smith, Marrinon, and Ritter on the working group are DJR team owner Ryan Story and ex-racer turned pundit Andrew Jones.