F1, F2, F3 Comparison

Formula 1 is the elite, top tier level in open-wheel motorsport, featuring top drivers, incredible speeds, and cutting-edge tech. What’s often overlooked is the interconnectedness with the F2 and F3 series.

F1, F2, F3 are under FIA’s umbrella, nurturing future F1 talents. FIA aims for a gradual progression from F3, with drivers advancing to F1 via more powerful cars. Though outwardly similar, these cars serve distinct purposes, pinpointing F1 prospects and preparing them for the ultimate challenge.

Exploring F1vs F2 vs F3

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) governs all three series. F2 and F3 act as steppingstones to F1.

Notable F1 drivers like Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton rose through the F2 and F3 ranks.

While some drivers, like Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen, skipped F2, most F1 drivers honed their skills in F2 or F3.

F1vs F2 vs F3 – Differentiating the Series.

Since its inception in 1950, Formula One has dominated motorsport. It boasts greater speed, distance, and advanced tech, commanding unmatched viewership and sponsorships.

F1vs F2 vs F3 – Performance

Formula 1 cars surpass F2 and F3 in every performance metric.

Formula One cars accelerate 10% faster than formula two and 16% faster than Formula three.

F1vs F2 vs F3 – Budgets

The budgets for the three different series are not comparable (F1 $140 million, F2 $6 million, and F3 $2 million.)

What is F3?

Understanding the Differences Between F1, F2 and F3

The existence of Formula Three may seem perplexing, especially in light of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship and the FIA European Formula 3 Championship (1975–1984).

In 2018, Formula 3 took on a fresh format through the merger of:

  • GP3 Series
  • FIA Formula 3 European Championship

Dedicated exclusively to supporting the Formula 1 series, Formula 3 offers a simplified rendition of its high-speed counterpart, featuring:

  • F3 has optional pit stops.
  • A single 45-minute practice session each weekend.
  • A 30-minute qualifying session dictating the sprint lap grid.
  • A 40-minute sprint lap, followed by one additional lap, determining the main race grid.
  • A main race lasting 45 minutes, plus one lap.
  • Budgets are only valued at 1.5% of the size of Formula 1..
  • A sole chassis manufacturer, Dallara Automobili.
  • Mecachrome as the single engine provider, offering a naturally aspirated direct-injected V6 engine.
  • Hewland for gearbox supply and AP Racing for clutches.

The rationale behind a standardized car lies in developing the driver ability. Races are won on driver skill and not because one car is superior to another. Positioned as a feeder series for Formula Two and Formula One, Formula Three ensures drivers have the requisite skills for the pinnacle.

Notably, two recent drivers, Sebastian Vettel (four-time F1 world champion) and Fernando Alonso (two-time world champion), advanced from Formula Three to F1 championship glory, bypassing Formula Two.

What is F2?

Understanding the Differences Between F1, F2 and F3

F2 is the intermediary stage that serves as the bridge between Formula One and Formula Three. Formula Two holds a pivotal role in motorsport progression.

Introduced by the FIA in 2017 through the merger of the GP2 Series, which emerged in 2006, Formula Two was conceived to offer a relatively affordable steppingstone between F1 and F3.

Mirroring Formula Three’s approach, cost containment is achieved through standardized chassis, engine, and tire suppliers.

This emphasis on shared components underscores the significance of driver expertise over any potential advantages conferred by a superior machine.

Though Formula Two cars are slower than their Formula One counterparts, they remain a thrilling spectacle for both enthusiasts and drivers alike.

Despite their simplicity and standardized mechanics, Formula Two vehicles incorporate select technologies from Formula One, which include:

  • Drag Reduction Systems (DRS).
  • Turbochargers, introduced in the 2018 season.
  • Digital inductive ignition system.

Noteworthy is the victory of Lewis Hamilton in the 2006 Formula Two championship, paving the way for his remarkable ascent to a seven-time Formula One world champion.

What is F1?

F1 stands as the top of racing excellence. It has a rich heritage that can be traced back to the late 1800s. Its legacy looms large over other racing models, a testament to its dominance and innovation.

The inaugural Formula One race ignited at Silverstone in the United Kingdom on May 13, 1950. Giuseppe Farina, piloting an Alfa Romeo, clinched victory, narrowly surpassing the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio.

Fangio, a true racing icon, claimed the championship in successive years – 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, and 1957 – an achievement later matched by Michael Schumacher in 2003, securing his sixth championship.

The year 1958 introduced the Constructors’ Award, enhancing the championship’s scope.

The contemporary Formula One framework has evolved from early lessons, often at the expense of drivers and spectators alike. As Formula One pioneers advancements, these safety measures trickle down to lower-tier series like Formula 2 and Formula 3, enriching the entire motorsport ecosystem.

One of the advantages of the three-tier system (F1, F2 and F3) is that safety technology and processes trickle down to the lower formula’s after F1 has spent the cash developing the systems.

A Glimpse into Formula One’s Safety Evolution

The evolution in F1 driver and track safety has been nothing short of amazing.

Formula One Drivers’ Helmet

Formula One Drivers’ Helmet (Introduced in 1952) Mandated in 1952, the introduction of protective headgear marked a pivotal step towards driver safety.

Over the years, helmets have evolved to enhance safety standards.

F1 Driver Fire Suits

The fire Suits were introduced in 1975. Nikki Lauda’s horrific fiery crash at Nürburgring during the 1976 season underscored the importance of fire-resistant suits. The fact that he was able to return and drive to victory in 1977 removed any doubt about the effectiveness of these devices.

F1 Driver Safety Cell

F1 Driver Safety Cell was introduced in 1981. This device has revolutionized driver protection. It shields the driver physically. But even more than that the safety cell enables manual activation of a fire suppression system. It also facilitates emergency extraction, reducing spinal injury risk.

The F1 Safety Car

They introduced the Safety Car in 1993. This provided a means to control speeds during hazard cleanup. Its trial run during the 1973 Canadian Grand Prix laid the groundwork for its instrumental role in enhancing safety.

Reduced Pit Lane Speed

Reduced Pit Lane Speed was introduced in 1994. Enforcing a speed limit of 80km/h in pit lanes since 1994 aims to enhance safety during pit stops, minimizing the risk of collisions and injuries.

Crash Barriers and Runoff Areas

Crash Barriers and Runoff Areas where introduced in1994. A commitment to continuous improvement is evident in the redesign of crash barriers and runoff areas. These enhancements, particularly at high-speed straights, mitigate impact energy and offer escape routes.

Wheel Tethers

The sport introduced wheel tethers in 1999. Wheel tethers prevent detached wheels from becoming dangerous projectiles, minimizing the potential for harm during accidents.

HANS Device

The FIA introduced the HANS Device in 2003. The Head and Neck Support (HANS) device reduces injury risk by restraining head and neck movement during high G-force impacts, safeguarding drivers’ well-being.


The FIA introduced The Halo in 2018. It protects the driver in a roll over or if something strikes the car from above. It protects the driver by safeguarding his head.

While initially met with reservations, it has proven its effectiveness, garnering support from drivers like Romain Grosjean and Lewis Hamilton.

The comprehensive safety initiatives in Formula One exemplify an ongoing commitment to preserving driver well-being and enhancing overall safety outcomes. These advancements not only define Formula One but also resonate across the motorsport spectrum.

Key Differences between F1vs F2 vs F3

The following table highlights the key differences betweenF1, F2, and F3

DifferencesFormula 1Formula 2Formula 3
No of Practise Sessions311
Qualifying3 or 1 Sprint2 Sprint1 and sprint
Length Of Raceno less than 189 miles (305km)105 miles (170) km) or 60 min40 min + one lap
Length Of Sprint Race62 miles (100km)75 miles (120km) or 45 min40 min + one lap
Number of races in 2022232618
Number of teams101110
Number Of Drivers202333
Teams design their carsYesNo (1 supplier)No (8 suppliers)
Teams design their enginesNo (3 suppliers)No (1 supplier)No (1 supplier)
Number of engines per season311
Teams source their tiresNo (Pirelli)No (Pirelli)No (Pirelli)
Drag Reduction Systems (DRS)YesYesYes
Engine Horsepower1000 hp620 hp380 HP
Top Speed231.5 mph (372.6 km/h)199 mph (320 km/h)186 mph (300 km/h)
0-60km/h2.6 seconds2.90 seconds3.1 seconds
Car weight1759lbs (798Kgs) min excl driver1664lps (755kg) inc driver1484 lb (673kg) incl driver
Team Budget$140 million$6 million (2 cars)$2 million (2 vehicles)

F1vs F2 vs F3 Conclusion

F1, F2, and F3 form an interconnected ecosystem that nurtures motorsport talents. While drivers might not strictly adhere to the progression, each level prepares them for the pinnacle that is Formula One.




Wikipedia Formula 3


By Jonny Noble

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Jonny Noble I’m a dedicated F1 Writer – and I’ve Been One for Over Four Decades, I’ve been intimately immersed in the world of Formula One for more than 44 years. That’s longer than most professional commentators can boast! As an independent writer, I offer a unique perspective on the entire F1 landscape, free from biases that might cloud the discussion. We dive deep into the exhilarating, frustrating, and captivating facets of the F1 universe. So, regardless of my amateur status, one thing is undeniable: four decades of dedicated F1 fandom have forged strong opinions worth exploring!