FIA Single Seater Commission president Gerhard Berger says Europe's single-seater ladder is flawed and needs urgent streamlining, placing particular emphasis on Formula 3.
The former Formula 1 racer believes the multitude of championships currently open to young drivers prohibits their career progression. Speaking in the FIA's InMotion magazine, Berger said the problem is most evident in F3, with separate championships and regulations serving to blur the ability to assess young talent.
"The system no longer does what it is supposed to do, which is to give a highly talented driver a CV [résumé] he can use to progress through to Formula 1," Berger explained. "There are too many championships out there and attention between them is split too much. People are complaining that the best drivers are now all spread out so you cannot look at British Formula 3, for example, and say that [a driver] is certain to get to Formula 1.
"The most urgent thing is to sort out F3. For me this has always been the most important class for young drivers. This is where you can really see for the first time how much talent someone has.
"Nowadays there are so many championships, even inside Formula 3 itself, [so] the first thing I did was to introduce a new FIA European Formula 3 Championship. This is not popular with everyone because there are a lot of vested interests, but I don't care about that. We need to start with a new platform and that is the new championship.
"It is coming together nicely. It is important now to build strong national championships with the same regulations. That is the project at the moment and it will take a little time."
Berger said his issues with F3 also held for the wider open-wheel structure, adding: "It's a similar problem at the next level up, with Formula 2, GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5.
"You don't want to dictate a new formula, you simply want to create a better formula, so the question is what does that mean? Firstly, you need clever regulations. Then you need to bring the costs down.
"We should have one formula with one regulation. OK, if a country does not have a strong enough championship then it could join with another, or there can be some kind of final between the top guys in the different national series, but what we have to do is break it all down."
He added that the lowest rungs of the ladder also required a rethink.
"We are missing something between karts and Formula 3 – call it Formula 4, if you will," said Berger. "We are working on this. It mustn't be too complex, but it should be a challenge, so that they can learn. That's the third project."