Following the news of the GP2 Series being rebranded as the FIA Formula 2 championship for the 2017 season, question marks have been left over the future of GP3.
The first pre-season test in Estoril next week will see the series begin to prepare for its eighth season in operation, but this slight change sees it become a further isolated sibling to F2.
This series is currently the odd one out and sticks out as something peculiar on the motorsport ladder, between national F4 championships, European F3, F2 and F1.
The GP3 Series also seems in the worst health of the junior categories going into 2017. It is set to have only seven teams competing for a second straight season in the coming campaign and now only has eight rounds on its calendar. Just seven of these are as a back-up to F1 at races around the world.
One way of resolving this problem could be to merge the two series together and rewrite the rules on what constitutes an F3 car if one had to be lost or fade into the background of racing. If any change was made, GP3 could be pictured as the series which disappears.
The two series have been almost in competition with each other for some time, with a number of similarities, although F3 is slightly stronger in some areas at this moment in time.
GP3 has recently just introduced a new fleet of cars in 2016 and will introduce DRS for the first time in 2017. Losing these suddenly would surely be a random waste of good chassis’ and money and lose an important part of the car which could help drivers get more comfortable with F1 cars once they graduate from the category.
F3 has been slightly influential for bringing certain high-profile drivers (Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen) into F1 during the last three years, while GP3 has only had one driver from the series race in F1 since 2015 (Esteban Ocon).
Meanwhile, F3 continues to support series such as DTM, the World Endurance Championship and World Touring Car Championship with its 30-round calendar at 10 destinations across the globe.
The quality of both grids is fairly high ahead of the new season, but combining the two would allow an even higher calibre of grid in future years, if drivers like Joey Mawson, Lando Norris or Mick Schumacher, all expected to be at the sharp end of the timesheets, joined the fastest drivers on the GP3 grid in one series.
Many drivers have switched between the two series in recent years. Alessio Lorandi and Arjun Maini became two of the most recent drivers to move from F3 to GP3 last season while ex-DAMS GP3 racer Jake Hughes moves back to F3 for 2017.
Losing one of the series would make the passage through motorsport much clearer and potentially allow the fastest drivers to be given more of a pedestal.
Around 60-70 drivers just from F2 to F3 are all fighting, to a degree, to be noticed by other series around the world, including F1, and having fewer seats may put pressure on drivers to produce a higher quality of racing as more drivers would be on the sideline to fill in should they underperform.
These factors would lead to a mouth-watering prospect in whatever series emerges on the third layer of the motorsport pyramid in years to come.
Leaving both to continue in a similar fashion in years to come could happen but this may only lead to confusion for spectators in a time where F1 and its counterparts need to become clearer in some areas and get in touch with its fans.