French Formula 3

The French had a thriving Formula 3 championship from 1964 onwards but in the early 1970s it became a victim of the government-driven policy of using the state-owned ELF oil company and state-owned Renault car maker to develop and promote French motor sport. This policy was hugely successful, and developed a large number of famous French racing drivers, but as Elf and Renault moved through from the racing schools to Formula Renault into Formula 3 and then into Formula 2, what it left behind it could not always continue to thrive. Formula 3 bore the brunt of this, as ELF/Renault poured funding into Formula Renault and then into a new 1600cc Formula Renault Europe in 1974. F3 was dropped completely in France when the formula was changed to 2000cc, and FRE was heavily promoted to take its place as the route into Formula 2. Even ELF's fistfuls of francs were not enough, and French drivers and cars, notably Martini's very successful spaceframe cars, participated in the European F3 championship and Alain Prost won it convincingly in 1979 in a Martini MK27 run by Hugues de Chaunac's ORECA. ELF's competitor, BP France, leased Prost's MK27 and entered it for Alan Ferté in a revived French F3 series in 1980. The category quickly flourished again, with ORECA winning it seven times in succession in the 1980s.

French F3 seasons covered so far

The 1973 season: Nürburgring, Silverstone, Nogaro, Magny Cours, Pau, La Châtre, Monte Carlo, Clermont-Ferrand, Rouen-les-Essarts, Paul Ricard, Magny Cours, Croix-en-Ternois, Brands Hatch, Thruxton, Paul Ricard, Albi, Monza, Nogaro, Oulton Park, Montlhéry, Mallory Park, Brands Hatch, Croix-en-Ternois

The 1979 season: Nürburgring, Zolder, Magny Cours, Dijon-Prenois, Monte Carlo, Dijon-Prenois, Dijon-Prenois, Jarama, La Châtre, Albi, Le Mans-Bugatti, Paul Ricard

The 1980 season: Nogaro, Magny Cours, Dijon-Prenois, La Châtre, Rouen-les-Essarts, Paul Ricard, Nogaro, Le Mans-Bugatti

The 1981 season: Nogaro, Magny Cours, Dijon-Prenois, La Châtre, Croix-en-Ternois, Dijon-Prenois, Paul Ricard, Nogaro, Le Mans-Bugatti, Albi, Rouen-les-Essarts

All results and car histories compiled by Chris Townsend.

Please email Allen if you have any F3 race programmes.