Jenson Button, McLaren, Hockenheimring, 2014

Button opposes move to three-car teams

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Posted on

| Written by

Jenson Button, McLaren, Hockenheimring, 2014In the round-up: Jenson Button doesn’t believe three-cars teams are right for Formula One.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Button against three-car teams (Sky)

“I don’t like the idea of three cars in a team. Two cars is the way it always has been and it is the way it works in Formula One.”

Button is a wanted man, says his manager (Reuters)

Richard Goddard: “I’m in regular contact with Ron [Dennis] and there is nothing new. He speaks to me and he says ‘I’m really sorry, but we’re still in a holding pattern. I know perhaps we shouldn’t be, but we are’. That is where we are.”

Exclusive Romain Grosjean Q&A: I want to be part of a ‘big team’ (F1)

“I have a contract. I have an option to walk out. It is no secret that I want to be part of a big team – which is Ferrari, McLaren or Mercedes – and some of them haven’t announced their 2015 line-up yet, so there is still hope as I want to join such a team by 2015, latest 2016.”

Jules Bianchi F1 to trial ‘virtual safety car’ (BBC)

“Before the system is in full usage, race director Charlie Whiting will exercise “extreme caution” in the event of any incident.”

Sebastian Vettel not granted an early release from Red Bull (Daily Mail)

“It then emerged Vettel would not be released by Red Bull until five days after the closing Grand Prix of the season in Abu Dhabi on November 23. That covers the final three-day test scheduled for the Yas Marina circuit from November 25-27.”

Absence of Marussia and Caterham casts shadow over US Grand Prix (The Guardian)

Gary Anderson: “I’m very disappointed that these problems weren’t tackled a long time ago. We had over 30 cars in a grand prix not long ago. We’re a long way from that now.”

Ex-boss says Caterham demise ‘strange’ (Autosport)

“Ravetto hopes when the truth of what has happened at Caterham comes out in court it will prove who was to blame for the team’s troubles. ‘I do hope so, because I very well remember, and I still feel it under my skin, being humiliated in public interviews with all sorts of humiliating questions being asked when you cannot answer with the full truth’.”

F1 heading for eastern revolution as new team emerges from Romania (The Independent)

Constantin Cojocar: “Unfortunately, the money promised to me by my backers has not arrived. I understand that Forza Rossa is looking at other possible arrangements for 2015 and I have found it very difficult to contact my backers in Romania.”

Inequalities and fall in TV audiences take their toll on F1 (FT, registration required)

“A key difference in structure from, for example, [UK] Premier League football is the gap between the highest and lowest paid teams. In the Premier League the ratio is 1.5 to 1; in F1 it is 4.5 to 1.”

F1 shooting itself in the foot (The Telegraph)

“Nearly a fifth of the grid is in administration, with at least two more teams (Sauber and Force India) in severe danger? There is something wrong with a sport if it cannot produce enough teams, and that is the position Formula One finds itself in.”

David Brabham Blog: What’s The Trouble With F1? (Brabham)

“Motorsport is one of the few sports that doesn’t reinvest in grassroots yet it is one of the wealthiest, is that good for the sport? I don’t think so.”


Comment of the day

@Hobo thinks making drivers who change their entire power unit start from the pit lane is an excessive penalty:

I think the old ten place penalty is enough and I think the current penalty only really hurts the midfield. Here’s my rationale:

For the back of the field, both systems’ penalties are pointless because they are already at the back. It is just kicking them unnecessarily.

For the top teams, they can largely overcome both penalties. Mercedes is an outlier, but they can come from the back to win as has been proven. But Red Bull this year, and other teams in recent years have proven that they can podium/win from 13th and get podium/points from the back.

For the midfield, however, they are generally closer together, have less downforce and less power and cannot get past each other quite as easily. So 18th place instead of 8th or 21st instead of 11th (in a 22-24 car field) is already a big problem. Moving them to the back just penalises them more harshly when the are already well behind the front runners.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Gqsm, Jon Finn, Pejte and Alokin!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

1994 F1 seasonMika Salo’s F1 debut was announced by Lotus on this day in 1994.

He drove the final two races of the season for the struggling team.

Image © McLaren/LAT

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

Posted on Categories F1 Fanatic round-upTags

Promoted content from around the web | Become a RaceFans Supporter to hide this ad and others

  • 45 comments on “Button opposes move to three-car teams”

    1. The McLaren sponsorship appears to be getting desperate now, having to use bright colours to make a big deal out of it for people to notice them. That said, it is working as pictures are appearing all over the place.

      The new Lotus front wing looks absolutely horrific, although what strikes me as odd is the way they have the Lotus twitter on the inside of the old one. Nobody will see it there, it has taken until the 3rd to last race for me to see a small part of it, and just to top it off, that is the old twitter logo.

      1. I think you need a dose of Mclaren’s history to fully appreciate it. It seems like those are the ‘original’ Bruce Mclaren Motor Racing colours.

      2. I take it more as a bit of testing to waters while preparing next years livery @strontium. With asking how people like it etc, it really comes over as such far more than desperate.

        Not saying that being without name sponsor for the year is not a huge thing, but its not as if its getting worse and going downhill.

      3. Err… SAP have changed their logo from blue to yellow. I don’t believe this was motivated purely to brighten up McLaren’s car.

    2. “Not at all,” he said. “At no time was Caterham F1 team supposed to become Forza Rossa, or to transform itself into Forza Rossa or to swap the entry, or to move into Kolles premises.

      Well…judging by this reponse, Forza Rossa will be on the grid at Melbourne next year. This is F1 afterall.

      1. It is a very worrying article that throws up a lot of questions for both Caterham and FRR. Firstly, FRR looks as though it could be a disaster if they attempt to rush into F1 and make it onto the grid with just 5 months, and no base, car, team, or anything, especially if some money has not come through.

        And if this is what it seems to be saying, basically both FRR and Caterham will not build their own cars.

        Both teams appear to be doomed.

        1. but they have a base car @strontium. Remember that 2015 one developed for caterham?

    3. also..

      Maybe Fernando’s departure had something to do with this?

      1. Ferrari has already lost 0.5 seconds of performance before 2015 has even began, and this lost performance is in between the steering wheel and the drivers seat.

    4. I’m really looking forward to Austin, it’s just one more day.
      Button, BRM run as much as 5 cars as late as 1972 I believe so, in what was norm in the 60’s.
      The Seb RBR contract detail is a 3 week old news.

      1. Actually, I wouldn’t say it was that normal for teams to run three cars on a regular basis in the 1960’s – they would occasionally run a third car at certain events, but most teams lacked the resources to do so for more than a couple of races.

        Yes, BRM did expand their line up to run five cars at one point in the 1970’s, but given that was ultimately one of the reasons why BRM collapsed – they soon realised that the additional resources to run extra cars was far higher than any additional revenue they could get from sponsorship or prize money – it isn’t exactly the most auspicious example to cite.

    5. The Lotus F1 Team photo looks like a typical before and after plastic surgery advertisement.
      I kinda like big noses.

    6. Two cars is the way it always has been

      Not at all, Jenson. I’m not sure when the binding rule on two-car teams came, but as far as I remember, Ferrari ran with three cars as recently as Monza 1976. The 50s and early 60s saw multiple-car teams.

      1. McLaren ran Gilles Villeuneuve in 77.

        1. *as a third car. Curse you lack of an edit feature!

      2. The first F1 World Championship race was.. an Alfa Romeo 1-2-3. Ferrari only entered in the second race. But yes, generally, 2 cars was the norm since Bernie took control (1981), which is about half the time F1 has existed.

        1. But the last race with 3 cars in a team was the 1985 German GP @ Nurburgring: Renault ran a 3rd car with Francois Hesnault, trying an onboard camera for the first time. The 36th year of F1, out of 65.. so for over half the lifetime of F1 did entering more than 3 cars exist as a concept (and motor racing is over 100 years old, so for about 1/4 of its lifetime at the top GP level has only 2 cars per team existed).

      3. Three car teams might end up being Jenson’s only path to a seat next year… :\

        1. SennaNmbr1 (@)
          31st October 2014, 7:22

          Yes. I don’t understand why he would be against something that will probably save his F1 career.

          1. or maybe just the contrary: with the added cost of running a third car and paying another driver’s salary, BUT knows he has no chance of staying at McLaren should three-car teams become a thing next year…

            or maybe he’s just giving his honest opinion: f1 drivers have been said to do that sometimes…

      4. The better reason why 3 car teams are not the way to go is this

        “If you have one team like this year [Mercedes] that have been a step above then they lock out the podium in the top three places,” he told Sky Sports News HQ. “So personally I feel it is a shame if it goes in that direction.”

        1. maarten.f1 (@)
          31st October 2014, 6:44

          @bascb The best reason is, in my opinion, it doesn’t solve a darn thing. The top teams become more dominant (no matter what point scoring system you implement for third cars), small teams get pushed back even further and Formula 1 gets less and less interesting. Not to mention, where the heck are they going to leave the third car in the pit boxes?

          1. good point about the pitboxes @maarten-f1. Yes, the bigger teams would get even more dominant, and speed up the demise of further teams and potentially prepare the big ones/engine suppliers for a pullout as well, if they end up way down on their competitors for 2 years in a row.

      5. Guys 1977 was a looooooooooooooong time ago. 2014 has nothing to do with 1977.

        1. Cannot agree more with this, but maybe its because I didn’t experience those seasons. F1 has always had that ideal of racing two cars, for long enough to be considered tradition.

        2. @jcost As far as I’m aware ‘the way it has always been’ refers to stuff which has happened from the dawn of racing history, and not since Jenson came into this world (1980).

        3. @jcost The *history* of F1 is an integral part of F1. The question of three cars needs to be considered, there are pros and cons, but there’s no question that F1 is changing rapidly at the moment; and many people agree with my point of view, that it’s for the worse (and I went to my first “F1” GP in 1950, so that’s about half of my total experience with the possibility of 3-car teams.)

    7. That article from David Brabham is a good read and it nicely answeres @girts complaint made yesterday of why shouuld fans fund a team to enable the likes of Bernie, Flav, CVC etc to suck more money out of them IMO.

      1. @BasCB Thanks very much for pointing that out, I read the article during my lunch break.

        I actually do not blame Brabham for trying to attract funding this way and it probably makes more sense to do that in the WEC where the costs are lower. In fact, an opportunity to get a “Le Mans Engineer Pit Pass” in return for some financial support is pretty tempting!

        My comment was basically a response to Sam Brabham’s claim that “the goal is to eventually have Brabham back in Formula One” as well as Kobayashi’s “seat fund”. Formula One is already very expensive for the teams and fans alike. According to Brabham, companies cannot afford (or do not want) to sponsor the sport either. Making fans pay even more does not solve the real problem, which is that F1 is unaffordable and unattractive.

        1. I hope you had a good time enjoying lunch then @girts!

          It was interesting to read how Brabham more or less proposes this as an alternative to the way commercialized motorsport, and F1 in specific, work. It might work out that way, but in such a case surely the ones who participate should gain some exclusive acces including visiting races of “their” team!
          I could envision having season ticket to race tracks in the same way to allow us to “buy in” and secure the most exciting tracks and invite teams to come and race (sounds a bit like back to how it started, doesn’t it?) instead of over half of the complete revenue ending up at financial institutions (as either their payout or repayments/interest on loans taken out agains the perceived value/future earnings of the sport)

    8. That’s it. Button finally confirms he’s getting too old by stating “it has always been this way”.

    9. In an era where every driver seemingly has unshakeable faith in their team, Grosjean’s comments are refreshing to hear.

    10. Am I the only one looking at that Lotus nose and thinking what horrific accidents it might cause? We’ve already seen a car being flipped over from contact; that thing is going to slide right under the majority of bits on other cars. Looks custom designed to scoop up another car and deliver it right into the driver’s face.

      Regarding three car teams, I do think one thing that could be great about it would be if the driver finishing third out of each team scored no points for that race. Would really add a different dynamic to a title fight if there was a possibility of scoring no points without suffering a failure or crashing.

      Three car teams seem to work well enough in other series. I can’t see it really being a big deal other than being a bit of a break with tradition. But it does seem like a way of plastering over the cracks in F1 – new teams can’t afford to compete so simply fill the grid up with more third cars from the few remaining teams. While driving the costs even higher (and conveniently not requiring FOM to pay any more money to the teams).

      1. @mazdachris – What about the Lotus nose strikes you as potentially more dangerous than the Merc or Ferrari noses? They seem fairly similar to me.

        As for three car teams, it seems to me that if the third car didn’t score it would just add a level of complexity for viewers that is unnecessary.

        1. @hobo – Well if I wanted to be unfair, I could say that none of the Ferraris or Mercs are being driven by Maldonado ;)

          But no I take your point, and I agree, they’re all dangerous. I really can’t get my head around the decision to go for such a drastically low nose concept. I understand getting rid of a high nose, to avoid the car riding up over another, but this is just the complete opposite extreme. The rear crash structure sits higher than this nose, so if a car hits another from behind, the nose is going to slide in underneath the crash structure, which is extremely dangerous. Why not have a mid-level nose which has to be within a certain tolerance of the height of the wheel hubs, and make the rear crash structure the same height, then give both a sufficient minimum radius so that no combination of suspension travel will allow one part to go above/below the other? It would also mean that noses would strike wheels mose or less at the cenre point, minimising the risk of going over/under. I simply can’t see any value in these extremely low noses when it comes to safety. And if the Ferrari, Mercedes, and now the Lotus noses are anything to go by, there’s no aesthetic argument in its favour either. Why are they making such a basic, fundamental thing so difficult for themselves?

          As for the third placed car in each team not scoring points being too complicated for viewers, I really don’t see why this would be the case. It’s surely far less complicated than knowing about things like DRS, pit strategies, team orders, tyre wear, and so on. F1 is a complicated sport and its fans are more than capable of understanding something as simple as “lowest placed car in each team scores no points”. What’s complex or difficult to understand about that?

          It would also mean more opportunity for teams lower down the field to score points, so removes one of the big arguments against third cars, which is that the top teams would always lock out the points paying positions.

          1. @mazdachris – Maldonado comment = lol. Good laugh this early.

            I think your point on the noses is well put. I honestly don’t know what they expected here. Maybe they thought everyone would do a somewhat mid-height nose that was a blunt cone shape from 1980s Indy cars? They said they didn’t expect some of the ugly noses, and I think we have to assume they didn’t expect noses that would shovel cars.. But regardless, exactly what did they expect?

            Perhaps I should have been more specific, casual fans might not be up for yet another complication along with the others you listed. And I’m not saying that new/casual fans should be the deciding factor. But it would be a bit much for points to be spread over 14 drivers in smaller field.

            The level of complexity ebbs and flows, but I think we’ve gotten to the point where we need to start paring away some of these complications on the rules side.

          2. Agreed about the low noses. I thought it from the moment the first images of 2014 cars were released. They are more dangerous than the high noses we saw in 2009-2013. The FIA aimed to address safety in this area, but it seems they completely ignored other possible eventualities.

            Regarding aesthetics, apparently this Lotus nose wouldn’t meet the 2015 regulations as it is too short and I think the noses have to gradually taper towards the tip. Hopefully they will look a bit different anyway, because the Ferrari nose is arguably the ugliest on the grid.

    11. @keithcollantine – Very unexpected COTD, must’ve been slow. :D Thanks!

      Could you provide some commentary on what might happen if the magical number of 16 cars is breached? I believe you or someone here reported that is the number of cars Bernie is contractually obligated to have show up to a race, or similar language.

      I don’t want to see two more teams disappear, especially not the likes of Sauber, Force India, or Lotus. But let’s say two more teams fell out of F1, that Marussia and Caterham don’t make it back, and we have fewer than 16 cars on the grid. What are the potential outcomes? ..and what are the likely outcomes?

      1. I’d be very interested in knowing this as well. My thoughts are it could be bad news for Bernie, meaning good news for us

    12. With Buttons place in McLaren severely under threat I am suprised he’s against three car teams.

    13. Jenson has his finger on the Button

    14. I actually like the idea of 3 car teams as R.Grosjean quite rightly pointed out that some decent drivers will get a chance to prove their mettle against top class drivers … but again the cost factor is a big concern and I don’t think teams like force india ,Suaber,Lotus etc can afford it.. so as a long time fan and follower of F1 , I hope Bernie & co shows some sense and decides against the three car per team idea..

      1. Alex McFarlane
        31st October 2014, 20:25

        Agree, I don’t have a problem with 3 car teams per se, but if you are going to allow that then *ideally* everyone should be allowed that possibility, which just leads us full circle to the problems we have now, it doesn’t address the fact that the distribution of wealth in the sport does not allow small teams to cover costs, let alone be competitive at the front of the grid. Perhaps if the bigger teams were to be allowed to run 3 cars, perhaps smaller teams should be allowed to run just one car, which would allow them to be more competitive as they wouldn’t need to divide their budget between cars.

    15. Grosjean should be happy that he’d get a contract with Lotus, which is a fine team to be a part of. I can’t see any of those teams he names vying for his services for 2015.
      Mercedes – Hamilton, Rosberg
      Ferrari – Vettel, Raikkonen
      McLaren – Alonso, Button/Magnussen

    Comments are closed.