Formula Ford bullish ahead of national working group talks

Formula Ford at Sydney Motorsport Park

The Formula Ford Association (FFA) believes that the category “is in a very solid position” ahead of today’s first meeting of the working group which could see the national championship reborn.

Motorsport Australia stripped Formula Ford of its national championship status in 2016, a decision made shortly before the Australian Formula 4 Championship, which it promoted, debuted in mid-2015.

However, the governing body, through the Australian Motor Racing Commission, has now formed a working group which could lead to Formula Ford officially coming back into the fold.

The FFA has this morning moved to issue a statement which outlines its position ahead of those talks.

It has declared its confidence in the category and expressed a desire to largely continue with the status quo.

However, becoming a part of the Motorsport Australia Superlicence system, which governs the eligibility of drivers for Supercars Championship competition, is also an ambition.

Ironically, Superlicence points are on offer in the state championships despite the national title not being recognised.

“It is the view of the FFA committee that ideally we would be able to have our National championship earning super licence points for our drivers and continue in a similar manor [sic] that we have been for the last 7-8 years,” reads that statement, in part.

“It is our firm belief that Formula Ford in Australia is in a very solid position and will continue to provide the training ground for young talent regardless of the path others may choose.”

The association also “hopes to have more details on the possible direction our category may or may not be headed towards in the future.”

FFA Administrator Phil Marrinon will attend the talks along with Motorsport Australia officials; Supercars team bosses Roland Dane and Ryan Story; former Supercars driver and now driver manager Andrew Jones; and long-time Formula Ford team owner Michael Ritter.

Mike Smith, Director of Motorsport and Commercial Operations for Motorsport Australia, confirmed the existence of the working group to last week.

Smith said that there was widespread recognition in the industry of Formula Ford’s importance, but it is seemingly not the governing body’s only option for a junior open-wheel development category.

“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,” he remarked.

“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.”

Dane is on the record as a supporter of Formula Ford, at least in broad terms, and his Triple Eight Race Engineering squad currently fields the 2019 national title winner, Angelo Mouzouris, in the Dunlop Super2 Series.

In a video piece with Mouzouris shot at this year’s Repco Mount Panorama 500, which opened the Supercars season, the team boss stated that he was “disappointed that Formula Ford has started to drop off the radar.”

The 2021 Australian Formula Ford Championship, as the FFA continues to refer to it despite Motorsport Australia’s current position, commenced at Sydney Motorsport Park in March.

Thomas Sargent swept that round, with the next to be held at Wakefield Park on May 21-23.

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