Tatuus: Eurocup-3 car ‘will be an anticipation of the Formula Regional Gen2’

In the last decade, Tatuus has established itself as one of the world’s leading feeder series chassis manufacturers. Following the success of the introduction of the second-generation F4 cars last year, the Italian company is already preparing its next projects. Feeder Series talked to Tatuus CEO Gianfranco de Bellis about the future of the company.

By Perceval Wolff

Present in almost all FIA–certified national F4 series over the world, the new Tatuus F4-T421 has met great success for its first year of racing in 2022.

“We found a better balance on the car,” Tatuus CEO Gianfranco de Bellis says. “Our focus was to find a good compromise and offer to the teams and the drivers a very good opportunity to learn in the right way and to prepare them for the next step in Formula Regional, or even in F3.”

‘The fast car is not a comfortable car’

The Formula Regional car from Tatuus, introduced in 2018, has proven to be very popular, as it is used in Europe, in Oceania, and in Middle East. However, drivers, especially rookies, often struggle to handle this car, with some even avoiding the Formula Regional category because of it. However, De Bellis trusts the strengths of the Tatuus F3 T-318.

“Formula Regional is a very important step for the drivers. Drivers can learn a lot from driving a car that has low downforce that has a very efficient braking system and also an engine that delivers a lot of power. Of course, the weight of the car due to the safety rules makes it a little bit heavy, so to handle the car, drivers need to follow a good physical preparation.”

Front view of 34 FRECA cars racing down the start-finish straight at Mugello
FRECA uses the Tatuus F3 T-318 car | Credit: Diederik van der Laan / Dutch Photo Agency

“There are no cars that are easy to drive. The fast car is not a comfortable car. If you feel comfortable in a car, that means you are not exploiting 100% of the machinery.

“Moreover, with Formula Regional, we have 4–5 years of experience behind us. We saw that the best drivers could show their potential in our car. Also, we always work like we are in competition with other manufacturers, so we try to do the best car.”

Formula Regional Gen2: the next challenge

Of course, Tatuus knows the weakness of their Formula Regional car. Last year, Alpine introduced a push-to-pass system, a device to make overtaking easier in the FRECA championship.

“Depending on the configuration of the track, the aerodynamics can have a lot of influence, and it is not easy to overtake a car when you follow someone in the dirty air. When we have less aerodynamics like in F4, the races are very stacked and drivers always overtake.

“But when you start to work on a car with a lot of aerodynamics, it becomes much harder. The introduction of push-to-pass in FRECA has really helped making the races more exciting. Renault-Alpine did a very good work.”

And continuing to improve that is Tatuus’ next challenge for the upcoming season.

“The FIA is making a lot of aerodynamical studies with a lot of simulations for the future rules of the Formula Regional Gen2 car. There is a lot of work to be done on the front wing, the endplates, the rear wing, et cetera. We know that the Gen2 will have to allow drivers to get closer to each other, to allow them to overtake in better ways.

“We will be going in a bit the same direction as the technical revolution F1 had in 2022. Not with the same ground effect – we will stay with the same concept of aerodynamics.”

A restyled car before Gen2 in 2025

The work on the future Formula Regional car has already started, as the new Eurocup-3 series will be using the same Tatuus F3-T318 as FRECA, but with a different aero kit.

“For sure, you will see some preview of the Gen2 in Eurocup-3. It’s not complete of course, but I would say there will be an anticipation of the Formula Regional Gen2 car – an anticipation in order to win some downforce, to help the driver to follow the car in front in the corners.

“I think it will be a good step in the direction of the Gen2 in 2025.”

No hybridisation in the close future

Last year, French car manufacturer Mygale revealed they were working on a hybrid-powered F4 car. But this is not the direction that Tatuus seems to be taking anytime soon, for very simple reasons.

“As you know, Tatuus is a group that also includes Autotecnica for the engine side. We have experience with hybridation. We worked on it during the FIA Motorsport Games with KCMG, but the problem is that it is just too expensive.

“We need to respect a certain budget cap from the FIA regarding the chassis and the power unit. And at the moment, if you want to make an hybridation of the engine, there is no way to stay in the target costs imposed by the FIA.

Two blue cars coming round a corner on track
French F4 uses the Mygale M21-F4 chassis | Credit: Marc de Mattia / DPPI

“For the moment, we don’t see any application possible, and none of the championships we are taking care of asked us to go to hybrid. Biofuel seems much more relevant. It doesn’t cost anything, it doesn’t add weight…

“Because if you put an hybrid engine, you add at least 25 or 30 kilogrammes on the car. You may win some power, but it compensates with the weight. So honestly, in terms of performance, it’s not logical.”

A special car for F1 Academy

Tatuus has also revealed that the Eurocup-3 car will not be the only change for them this year, as the new all-female F4 series will use a car that is a little different to the one in Italian, Spanish and British F4.

It will be based on the usual F4 car but with some modifications requested by Liberty Media and F1 Academy

De Bellis on how the F1 Academy car will differ from the car used in other F4 series

“We will also have the F1 Academy car to take care of. It will be based on the usual F4 car, but with some modifications requested by Liberty Media and F1 Academy.

“These are not big changes. We need to change the front wings especially, but when you touch this, you need to find the same balance that you had before. So we have to work on this.”

New factory, growth and success

Despite flourishing in the F4 and Formula Regional categories, Tatuus won’t be involved in future talks for the next F2 and FIA F3 chassis, De Bellis told Feeder Series.

“We have our market. We have the project of the Gen2 Formula Regional car, and Tatuus also has some collaboration outside FIA promoters like MSV [MotorSport Vision] in the UK for GB3.

“We have an important presence in the USA with USF Pro 2000, USF2000, USF Juniors that have different rules, completely different chassis if we compare with F3 or Formula Regional.

GB3 2022
Tatuus have started to talk about a new GB3 car | Credit: Jakob Ebrey

“We have started to talk about a new car for GB3, an upgrade. We have this new project for the upcoming year with the Eurocup-3 machinery… so I think honestly, we don’t look at F3 or F2. Dallara makes a super job for these categories and we are very busy all over the world.

“We had an incredible 2022. We were engaged in 17 championships; we built and sold something like 200 cars this year, which is our new record … and we had our new headquarters, where we moved in last December to complete this crazy year.

“There is an ex–Alfa Romeo test track just nearby, to help us to improve our activity and to offer possibilities to our clients – like Renault, for example – to develop new projects together.”

Header photo credit: Klaas Norg / Dutch Photo Agency

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