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Silverstone Forum 10th September 2016

There follows a summary of the matters discussed at the forum. The board would like to thank all those who attended and contributed.

Welcome Chairman Eddie Guest welcome to the assembled members.

Grand Prix  Style A question had been raised as to whether this was still the appropriate tagline for the club. There were no strong feelings.

F3 Cup Co-operation Following the suggestion that the F3 and tentatively Mono 1400  classes ran with the F3 Cup in order to free space in the Silverstone GP race, the club has talked to David Scott of MSVR concerning possible co-operation and sharing of grids. Conversations will continue. James Drew -Williams said he saw this as a positive. Whilst few members objected to the co-operation a significant number of leading commented that as potential race winners  they may change their entry to the F3 Cup with different cars so that they would pass the chequered flag first.

Communication EG stated that it was impractical to publish minutes because a number of discussions were commercially sensitive and it would also restrict discussions if members believed that their comments would be in the public domain. EG will, however, do a quarterly news sheet.

Peter Venn stated that the board was structured as a company and no company would publish its minutes. The AGM and forums like this were the appropriate means for members to make their views held. Mark Schofield asked if redacted minutes could be published but after some discussion it was agreed that this would not be practical. Douglas McLay emphasised the importance of anybody with comments speaking to board members in the paddock or at other times.

Refund Policy EG stated that there had been a 30% withdrawal last year but this year, with a sliding scale of withdrawal fees the rate had reduced to around 20%. The Spa deposit system had been the same for several years in that it was non-returnable. Eddie explained that this was necessary due to the high financial risk involved and added that Spa would be unlikely to work in 2017 unless exchange rates improved markedly. Ben Cater said that the withdrawal system should be somewhat stricter. If the cut-off date for losing the full entry fee was at least a week before the events this would give time, for reserves to be notified and to be able to prepare. Douglas McLay commented that we wish to encourage people to race and have as many people as possible on the grid Mike Reed supported the week buffer and that said that this was done in Formula Jedi. Chris Hodgen said that there was a need for some flexibility when there were a number of races close together, for example as there had been this year.

Paddock Parking A question had been raised as to whether it was fair that 40ft trailers containing one car, who on occasions had large awnings capable of supporting three or more cars took up many spaces when later arriving single vehicles with trailers were having difficulty in parking. The response was that it was a difficult issue as everybody wants all of their equipment together. Will McAteer said that at Brands Hatch the problem was mainly caused by road cars in the paddock and he could not get a trailer in. Douglas McLay responded that MSVR have tried to police matters and manage the parking. It was noted that MSVR generally did a good parking job. Mike Reed responded that at Oulton and Cadwell where space was much more critical 40 foot trucks and tractors with one race car had caused issues. Russ Giles said that where a commercial team was running a single car is it would be fair if they would share space.  He commented that 40ft trailers were fine when several cars were within it, or where space was offered to others. James Drew-Williams said that 40 ft trailers were cost-effective and he felt were necessary when carrying an extensive stocks of parts to ensure he was not over weight.

MAC and Administration costs EG explained that admin costs were commercially sensitive. However MAC had delivered on budget and had added value. Douglas McLay added that the decision had been taken to split the administration tasks into two rolls as a risk reduction. MAC had delivered on their promise of resilience when Rachel had suffered an injury. In response to a question from Kevin Couling it was confirmed that the administration has been put out to tender.

Calendar It was agreed that the spacing in May had been less than ideal. Next year it was proposed that 16 rounds be reduced to 12. This year it had been necessary to work around Spa but that will not be the case in 2017. It was also suggested that we may not have two rounds at Brands and Silverstone, albeit on different tracks as we did this year. Douglas McLay, chairman of the race committee, said we are looking for 2017 to race at the same sort of ”quality” tracks as we have had this year although  we would like to add in Thruxton. He explained that with BSB, BTCC, and British GT there were few dates left. MSVR have suggested a “single seater festival” probably on the Brands Indy circuit which would put Monoposto as a headline attraction. DM confirmed that we were not committed to MSVR, and were looking at other clubs, but MSVR has served us well. Michael Reed asked if Anglesey or Pembrey could be included. The response was that although these tracks have many merits the numbers did not support them. Peter Venn believed we get better respect from MSVR and are more highly valued by them than we are by some other clubs. He believed they value us for our good sized grids and good racing. It was noted by DM that the only circuit which MSVR are specifically keen that we use is Cadwell Park. In fact this has worked well for us. Anglesey and Mallory could be offered by MSVR.

Fuel Richard Purcell drew the meeting’s attention to carriage of fuel regulations and asked if Sunoco 98 could be made a standard fuel and arrangements be made for its supply at the circuit. He believed it was £1.50 a litre.

Classes Richard Purcell requested that the club should not run with F3 Cup so that drivers could compete in both championships should they wish to. Peter Venn believed that the “senior” class in mono was the F3 class and their frontrunners wanted to be in a race where they could be on pole and win outright. PV noted the split of Classic and Mono 2000 and wondered if this had been successful. DM explained that FVL was gradually reducing in numbers from the old classic and there was a perception that spaceframes were faster.
A suggestion was made that Formula Renault be run in 2000 and allow spaceframes back into Classic. Russ Giles explained that the intention had been to make the classes balanced and fair. FR would be further discussed.

Costs/Value for Money PV commented that the overall package from MSVR was good, far better than some other clubs we had run with in the past.  JD-W agreed with recent experience, Chris Hodgen added that they seemed fair; other clubs put their own championships first.  TC outlined the costs inflation over the last 5 years, being zero in some years, 3% or so in others. Our own race entry fees were based on hire charges and the expected entry level.  Mike Reed thought some of our rounds were expensive (eg Brands GP).  Mark Schofield also commented that our inflation was in excess of the rates mentioned. TC explained that the costs were fixed for the chosen races, and we had to arrange the entry fees to cover those costs. Some of the more popular venues (where we have enough entries to have reserves) were priced more highly to balance out lower prices to attract entries to less popular venues.  He also added that in the past Spa had been profitable and had subsidised UK races. Will McAteer asked if MSVR did cheaper venues, but TC suggested that while they did, these were often reflected in poorer entry numbers. RP asked if when a profit was made exceeding a set level of reserves there could be a return to members.  TC was concerned by the potential complexity. DM invited suggestions and emails to the race committee concerning venues and other race matters.

Spa/Overseas Spa had approximately broken even, depending on the allocation of overheads.  The issue had been exchange rates combined with a significant increase as the circuit owning local authority had increased circuit charges. EG said that the club was looking at Zolder, Zandvoort, and other Spa organisers for a better value product. Ewen Sergiosson had been to Zandvoort and it looked potentially a lot cheaper.

Tiedeman Trophy The aim this year had been to visit circuits we hadn’t otherwise visited and to offer a low profile, relaxed championship.  The level of demand for the main championship last year indicated a need for potential overflow. We had got the timing wrong and it will return to a 3 round Autumn championship.

Format 2 day meetings were acclaimed as more popular. (Oulton will almost always be Saturday only due to noise issues). Dan Levy was a voice against 2 day.  A majority favoured 1 quali and 3 races over 2 quali and 2 races, though it was not unanimous with about 25% preferring the traditional format. It was suggested that more rounds could be dropped and that the Q1R3 concept be trialled at several of the 2017 meetings.

Practice Sessions Could the club organise practice sessions? The response was that the financial risk was too great. Test days had been successful only if the circuits wished to offer a low cost day, and this may be well before the season starts.  DM noted that a test session had been organised at Cadwell with a low take up.

Class Structures
1000/1400 Jason and Jeremy Timms were critical that, whilst they could see the logic of splitting 1400 from 1000, it was done without a year’s notice, and they were critical of this.  It was later suggested that as the 1400’s were currently F3 chassis, they may in future run with the F3 class. This might mean that Speads type cars with 1400s could be in with the F3s, but the mix issue applies however the split is arranged.

Reduction of Class Numbers Whilst a worthy aim, nobody was able to suggest how this could be done painlessly.

2 Litre Engine Regs  RG explained that we have come through a period when readily available XE and 3SG engines provided cost effective reliable 2 litre power.  Both are getting less available, they are old engines. The club needs to move on, but in a controlled way without getting into a cost spiral, without alienating existing classes, and without making existing cars obsolete overnight. PV added that if the future was still with F3 chassis we needed engines which would fit relatively easily. RG and the technical committee will come up with draft proposals for debate.  Club funds do not permit extensive speculative testing.  DM emphasised the traditional notice period.

Formula Renault  Terry Clark explained that past issues had made the board reluctant to support FR as part of the F3 class. Scrutineering and technical efforts had been disproportionate to the numbers entering.  When the decision was taken, there were no prospective runners and no objections were raised.  We currently have a variable number around 3. Kevin Couling reported that he was representing some FRs who had approached him. He was asked to supply the names to the technical committee.  JD-W said that at around £14k it was a good entry car, safe and reliable. PV’s Mono 2000 suggestion was discussed but it was felt inappropriate due at least to stability issues.  JD-W said that the cars can be converted to F3 class with one of 2 Mono F3 class eligible engines. PV proposed a separate class for 2017 which the meeting supported.

Moto 1000/1400 weights A suggestion to increase weights by 30kg in 1000 and 50kg in 1400 received little support.  It was noted that the Dallaras are in fact over the current weight limit, but the suggestion of carrying 30kg ballast in a Jedi met little support.

The meeting ended after 2 hours. The chairman and some members had travelled especially for the meeting, and members had given up much of their evening to contribute to the discussion. The chairman thanked everybody for a constructive meeting held in a positive spirit and indicated that similar mid-year forums would be held in future.