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F2 / F3000 / GP2

Formula 3000 had first been proposed in 1983 as a rival category to Formula 2. It was 1985 when the first series was organised, retaining F2 chassis regulations but now powered by 3-litre engines, hence the F3000 designation.

Most entrants opted to use the venerable Ford Cosworth DFV engine that had been the mainstay of British Formula 1 teams since the late 1960s. Although the championship suffered from a lack of competitors in its first year (with only 11 cars starting at Pau), it was soon well supported and enjoying full grids from its second season onwards.

This had been a free formula that attracted chassis manufacturers such as Ralt, March, Lola, and Reynard to supply the ever-more competitive field. However with costs spiralling, single car/engine rules were introduced for 1996 in order to reduce budgets. That made the new Lola chassis and detuned 3000cc Zytek (née Judd) engine mandatory and severed the category's ties with F2's free thinking past.
Furthermore, when F3000 exclusively became an F1 support series in 1999, classic second-division events such as the Pau Grand Prix and Enna’s Mediterranean GP were permanently removed from the international calendar.

However, with costs rising once more, grids dwindling as a consequence and championship success no guarantee of F1 graduation, F3000 was replaced at the end of 2004. Both F2 and F3000 had been designed to develop new GP talent but no champion from either series would win the World Championship. That unfortunate omission was soon put right by the subsequent GP2 Series.