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If you're a racing driver looking to make your way up to Formula One, there's been one series that's served as a vital stepping stone for the past two decades. But it won't be around any more. That's the Formula V8 3.5 World Series, the organizers of which have announced they're closing the doors and canceling next year's championship.

Established in 1998 as Formula Nissan (officially the World Series by Nissan), it was reborn in 2005 as the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. When Renault pulled its support after 2015, the series continued as Formula V8 3.5. But now that's come to an end.

According to the announcement, the problem comes down to too small a grid, with not enough drivers signed on for next season. That's a shame, because it could very well have bred the next Formula One World Champion. It wouldn't be the first time, after all.

Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel (accounting for six world titles between them) both made their way up through the series, as did a number of other F1 drivers past and present, including Robert Kubica, Daniel Ricciardo, and Carlos Sainz, Jr.

This won't be the first manufacturer-backed �feeder� series to close up shop, either, after Formula BMW shut down in 2013, and what was Formula Opel/Vauxhall ended in 1998. Formula Renault 2.0 still runs at a lower level, as does Formula Abarth, but the demise of the V8 3.5 series removes a vital step. The organizers at RPM-MKTG have left the door open, however, to return in the future it should attract sufficient interest.

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