GT Sport has adopted a new weekend format for the Euroformula Open in the upcoming 2021 season, with the most noticeable change being the introduction of a third race at every round.
Last year an extended timetable was tried on several occasions to ensure drivers could contest a full season during the advances of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the favourable feedback from competitors on having three races per weekend rather than two has prompted the series to make the third race a permanent addition for 2021.
As in previous years, Saturday will feature a qualifying session that sets the grid for that day’s Race 1. There will now be a second Saturday race, which uses a reversed grid for the first time in series history. The results from Race 1, with the top six positions inverted, will dictate who starts where on the grid for Race 2. Race 3 then takes place on Sunday, and its grid will be decided by the fastest race laps from Race 2.
Pole position in Q1 and fastest lap in each of the races will continue to provide one extra point each as in the past, while 2 extra points will be awarded in each race to the driver having gained most positions.
All these measures are aimed at giving drivers new sporting challenges useful for their development and further increase the show for watchers. The 2021 Euroformula Open, the second edition using the Dallara 320, starts at Algarve International Circuit on April 23-25, the first of 8 rounds taking contenders also to Paul Ricard, Spa-Francorchamps, Hungaroring, Imola, Red Bull Ring, Monza and Barcelona.
Euroformula teams are preparing for the new season and will resume testing in March, after the mandatory ‘blackout’ period of no testing comes to an end on 28 February. The official collective Winter Test is scheduled at Barcelona on 19-21 March. All teams seen in 2020 (Carlin, CryptoTower Racing Team, Double R, Drivex School, Motopark and Van Amersfoort Racing) are planning to continue, while new entries could be seen, as further Dallara 320 chassis have been sold recently.
Euroformula’s place in the single-seater pyramid has been strengthened in recent years, 2020-21 Formula 1 drivers Carlos Sainz, Yuki Tsunoda and Jack Aitken leading the list of EF racers having climbed up to the top, while six former EF drivers competed in FIA F2: Sato, Drugovich, Samaia, Matsushita and the already mentioned Aitken and Tsunoda. In IndyCar, Colin Herta and Álex Palou shone among the frontrunners, while Nobuharu Matsushita, Toshiki Oyu and Tatiana Calderón competed in Super Formula. No less than 14 EF drivers (past or doing a double program) took part in the FIA F.3 in 2020.