George Russell, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Wolff: Let top teams run third cars for young drivers

2018 F1 season

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says top teams shouldn’t be “boring” by overlooking young drivers but can’t afford to risk compromising their championship positions.

Wolff wants the sport’s governing body to require teams to enter third cars which must be driven by less experienced drivers. He says this is necessary to encourage them to give more opportunities to up-and-coming talents.

“The big teams are not going to take risks with young drivers,” said Wolff. “Now, you can say ‘well, that’s boring’. I think it’s boring. We should take risks, we should put 18-year or 19-year-old great talents in a top car and give them a chance.

“But the problem is if you lose a drivers’ championship or a constructors’ championship because they have a learning curve then it’s obviously not great. And we haven’t done it and Ferrari haven’t done it in the past so we need to question that.”

Wolff suggested a “simple solution” to require teams to promote young drivers.

“Give us a third car and make it mandatory to put a young driver in there, with a maximum two years in that car. The costs wouldn’t be huge, the grid would be packed and we would have fantastic shows of new kids on the block coming up and fighting hard with the Valtteris and Lewises of this world and maybe surprising us.

Earlier this year Formula 1 technical director Pat Symonds said the possibility of allowing teams to run third cars is something the sport “should really think about”.

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Mimicking Red Bull’s approach with Toro Rosso by setting up a junior team to run the likes of Esteban Ocon, Pascal Wehrlein or George Russell (pictured) is “not an option” for Mercedes according to Wolff.

Esteban Ocon, Force India, Hungaroring, 2018
Ocon’s F1 future is in doubt
“Putting 80 to 100 million dollars every year in a junior team just to keep your young drivers in place is not what I would want to do.”

However he said if no way can be found to promote their drivers while retaining their ties to Mercedes, the team will have to consider scrapping its young driver programme.

“I still, being a racer at heart, feel that the best talent needs to be supported and developed and I hope that we find a solution for these guys If we can’t find a solution for these guys I would question the junior programme in the future,” he said.

“And then we go back to a pay driver model. Because today Red Bull who have invented the programme and have been successful in the past have been the main ones at the moment pushing forward but then Ferrari has a junior programme and we have a junior programme and Renault have a junior programme. But if you can’t find a place for them in Formula 1 it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

“And that would be a shame in terms of the driver level in F1. I will discuss that with the board and with the management at the end of the year depending what the outcome is for Pascal, George and Esteban.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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...

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82 comments on “Wolff: Let top teams run third cars for young drivers”

  1. Yes, yes and yes Toto. I think that would be a fantastic idea. Would it happen though? i doubt it unfortunately

    1. They all hope to find the nxt Max Verstappen….but they won’t ;)

      1. Yes they are all hoping to find the next petulant child without an ounce of respect for his competitors or their safety, sure. 🤣

      2. Why not…? We’re only talking about racing drivers here, not The Second Coming… :)

      3. I think Max is not the best example. Everyone tried to sign him, it’s not like red bull found him suddenly. Jos did a very good job promoting his son.

    2. Thing is though. Especially if the 3rd car doesn’t run for points, it will likely end up being used as an experiment car, allowing the richer big teams to develop quicker and get even stronger compared to the midfield guys, who wouldn’t be able to run a new car as it would be too expensive.

      1. good point about that @hugh11, another huge advantage those top teams would get handed to them to make it even harder for smaller outfits to compete

      2. And a great way to block your opponent as Bottas did so well in Monza.
        @hugh11

    3. Great idea yeah. We’d have the top nine 1 Ferrari’s, Mercedeses and Red Bulls in many cases. Leaving the rest of the teams to fight over 1 single last point, exactly what the sport needs indeed @johns23.

      Not to mention the amount of team strategy that would be used with an extra car in the mix, we already had ppl complaining about Bottas. Imagine if a rookie in a third mercedes had held up Vettel and kept him from the top 6, how would that have gone down.

      The real solution is off course to make the sport give the possibility for smaller teams to keep in business by giving them a larger share of the prize money, making sure that costs do not rize as incredibly high and keep a check on the top budgets.

      Not to have a “3rd car” run by the ones that have the money, we’ve seen how well that worked in Indycars and NASCAR.

      1. Maybe go MOTOGP style with satellite teams instead? @bascb

        1. Can’t say i am knowledgeable enough about that to say how that would work in F1 @johns23. But I’ve heard complaints from ppl that it is hard for privateer teams to survive in MotoGP as well, so not sure they have it solved.

      2. As a stop-gap until the prize money problems in F1 are sorted out I like the idea of this but not the way Toto has envisioned it.

        Instead the team that has the young driver under contract should, if they want to give him an F1 seat, have to pay for one of he bottom 5 teams in the Constructors’ Championship to run a 3rd or even 4th car. That way they are far less likely to lock out the points positions.

        Speaking of which, with up to 30 cars on the grid, points should be paid down to 15th place. 3rd and 4th car entries should not be eligible for Constructors’ Championship points.

        Maybe wait until the start of the European part of the season to introduce the extra cars so it’s clear who the the 5 worst performing teams are that year in the points and to give the teams a logistical chance of achieving it and keeping costs down.

  2. I never was against this as i wonder why they didn’t do this in the nineties. (Before this the field was huge with all those privateers) when it was clear the number of cars went below 25. The Third car should NOT count for the contructors race as other don’t have 3 cars.

    This will means you could have the podium full with 1 team but the field will be full with cars thus means more action.

    Also they should make DRS driver useable anywhere BUT have max 20 times or so So they can use it to defend attack or just for fast lap times.

    1. Maybe if the third car is only allowed in half of the races, that could be fair. Because there’s the worry that if the bigger teams have one more car, that means they will have extra mileage for tests and development. I think that will be enough for bigger teams to evaluate their rookies and will give more importance for the third driver.

  3. This sounds like a great idea to me, and might be essential for aii teams if we lose one or two more in future.

    How you define who counts as a “young driver” for these purposes will be tricky though – is it based on age? Number of races? What counts as a “season” if a driver doesn’t compete in every race in a year?

  4. I’m not sure if I agree with Toto on this one. To have one more Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull on the grid means 3 teams will dominate the points all season long. What about the other 7 teams that show up racing? Also, I can’t imagine how boring the seasons would be if the big teams keep one #1 driver and driver #2 and #3 just play a support role to him all season.

    I think there’s nothing wrong with how young drivers are being developed currently. They get in to a midfield or back marking team which is associated with one of the big teams. They gain experience and prove themselves in a less pressured environment before being offered a seat by the big 3. What’s wrong with this approach?

    1. No constructor points for 3rd car and no involvement in team strategy. (Just some random brainfarts)

      1. no involvement in team strategy

        Fia can’t give consistent 5 sec penalties, how are they gonna prevent Russel from blocking Ricciardo?

    2. On a much more serious F1 should allow Wildcard entries for team at any event of choosing to test new rookie drivers. Similar to MotoGp.

    3. I agree completely @todfod I’ve already had enough of the top teams dominating F1 and this would further entrench that. The solution is to have regulations which promote a full grid of 26 cars from 13 teams.

      1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        6th September 2018, 8:53

        We all know a full grid of 26 cars is unlikely to happen with the current regulations so your solution is next to impossible.

        How about customer cars? New teams using such cars must take the donor teams young drivers, but otherwise no assistance.

        Imagine George Russell in a Red and Blue 2018 Mercedes challenging Hamilton and Bottas?

        1. The solution is to have regulations which promote a full grid of 26 cars from 13 teams.

          That’s easy to achieve, @georgeod. As soon as the prize/sponsorship income is higher than the costs teams will fight for a spot on the grid.

          How about customer cars?

          That’s the only realistic way to use a 3rd car, even if the 3rd car is last year’s model, @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk.
          But those customer teams need to be fully independent (even more than STR vs RBR) to stop any blocking tricks as much as possible.

          1. @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk @coldfly, you guys might be on to something here. Customer cars and young drivers sponsored by the top teams, but donated to affiliate midfield teams, who would run them *independently* of their donor affiliates.

            This would give F1 the much-needed shot in the arm by way of integrated talent discovery & development, staunch the outflow of prodigious young drivers that lack financial support, and more seamlessly facilitate their transition into senior teams, who could now rest more assuredly when making their replacement picks.

            But more importantly, it would inject some direly needed funding into the midfield teams and help blunt the ever-looming specter of being outspent from the sport. With the help of meticulously drawn-up, robust FIA regulation, these smaller teams would also be able to exercise fiscal oversight over holistic team management, including of the donor drivers and customer cars, without fear of senior team influence/manipulation with respect to the Championships.

            Sounds good to me:)

    4. @todfod

      If top 10 would look like 3x Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull and only one another team then the they could give points everybody inside top 15? But still there could be three guys from the same team at the podium.

  5. Why not let manufacturer teams have a certain number of wildcard opportunities throughout the season…adds a bit of strategy to the championship also!

    1. I like this idea. MotoGP factory teams offer wildcard entries for test riders at some events. It works well. But I oppose a third car at every race.

  6. Wolff: Let top teams run third cars for young drivers

    Yeah why not, the 3rd car could also be run as a test mule for the team.
    Oh I’m sorry they would never do that …….would they? :))

  7. Here is an idea: how about Mercedes put that budget cap to good use? Complaining about how they can’t put their young talent anywhere, talking about a third car… Why not start a second team? Current budget of around 400m can easily be split, Ocon and Russell get seats, the grid gets another competitive car, job done. Ferrari: put some more money into Sauber. Red Bull: Toro Rosso. Quality.

    1. I like it, very much.

    2. Agree. Mercedes should start a “semi-independent” junior team. The budget is already there.

    3. Pretty sure that if Mercedes were willing to put up a deal where you get Russel, you get Ocon and you get a supply of engines and gearboxes and some tech support (somewhere in between what FI have and what Haas does with Ferrari)they might not even have to do much more to get a new team established @hahostolze

      And yeah, all the talk about people losing jobs would be easily solved because they can just go to the new team. And they can prove themselves there and later get (back) to the the top team just like the drivers can.

    4. Yes I like htat idea. But why not like the concept of motogp. Like how Yamaha is doing with Petronas Yamaha in the motogp next year.
      Why not just allow, like in motogp, a team with a car from the same year or previous one. Sure, a bike is cheaper then a car, but how Haas it is doing is almost like have a second Ferrari car. A team like Sauber could pick a 2018 Ferrari for 2019 and still be faster then developing their own.

      1. Sorry for the many ‘like’…

  8. How I see this so far:-

    Pros:
    Brings young talent into F1.
    Provides a safety valve so that potentially good drivers don’t get scrapped early.
    Provides one extra seat per “top team”, fills the grid, more action on TV.
    Similar to the “rookie podium” idea in lower formulae, there can be a “3rd driver podium” ceremony, looks good.
    There could be a separate points ladder (and structure) for these 3rd drivers.
    It’s not just drivers – this is a great way to train up younger engineers and pit-lane crew.

    Cons:
    Third car drivers are potentially pushing midfield teams down the finishing order. This looks bad, even if the third driver cannot score championship points.
    Small teams will complain about extra development opportunities being given to the top teams.
    Running a third car is a great excuse to argue against budget capping.
    The physical infrastructure of the pitlane is predicated on two cars per team.

    I’m sure there are more points.

    1. “The physical infrastructure of the pitlane is predicated on two cars per team.”
      That will put some balance, because it’s a problem for the team running 3 cars not for the others.

      “Small teams will complain about extra development opportunities being given to the top teams.”
      FIA should allow the thrid entry just for half of the races and in a strategic point of the calendar. And the third car should be exactly the same as the others are running.

      “Third car drivers are potentially pushing midfield teams down the finishing order. ”
      You can increase the points finishing positions to top 12 maybe.

  9. No please

    If you allow the already dominant teams to run a 3rd car, there will never be a surprise podium anymore. This is not what F1 needs. F1 needs more competition not less.

    Team strategy with 3 cars. Enormous amounts extra test data for the top teams. And why? Because top teams are afraid their backed driver hasn’t got a seat? Redbull has a great solution for that issue already.

    I really would like to see more cars on the grid, especially when they actually can get results. But giving the top teams even a bigger advantage then they already have is not the way to go imho.

  10. I think he’s talking nonsense frankly, and needs to look at some alternative examples outside of Ferrari and Mercedes. McLaren brought in Hamilton as a rookie when many said he was too young – he was instantly a match for Alonso and won races in his first season. The success he’s gone on to enjoy is a testament to that decision. Alonso became the youngest world champion in F1 history with Renault. Likewise Vettel with Red Bull.

    But the thing all these drivers had in common, which nobody gets to enjoy now, is the benefit of near unlimited testing. They were able to start as rookies with thousands of KMs already logged on the track – time spent away from cameras where they could iron out their mistakes. Yes none arrived in F1 the complete finished article, yet they were *far* better prepared than a driver whose total experience is limited to a few Friday sessions and a young driver test.

    As to being boring. Nonsense. They don’t care about being exciting. Alonso would have bitten Toto’s arm off for a chance to drive one of those Mercedes and would have given us an incredible championship spectacle to see him clash with Hamilton. Instead Mercedes and Ferrari repeatedly choose the boring safe number 2 option, robbing fans of a genuine contest between top line drivers in equal machinery. It’s about as dull as you can get – the desire to win money for the next year taking precedent over having all eyes on your cars for virtually every single race. A third car with a rookie who won’t be allowed to overtake the two main drivers, who probably won’t be eligible for championship points. That’ll then be unceremoniously dumped after two years, having been given no opportunity to shine against their more experienced rivals. I can’t imagine anything more boring than that.

    1. I agree (and if I had read this first I would have trimmed my own post below considerably).

      Yet the testing ban does not have that much of an impact. Young drivers that make it into F1 have done hundreds of hours in F1 simulators, where they can go to and over the limit without risk. The superlicense system forces them to build experience in the lower racing categories and F1 teams fund the most talented of them on their way.

      Nor was unlimited testing in the past put there to hone the skills of new drivers. Some got the chance to test before their first race, others did not. Jos Verstappen was dropped into the Benetton without hardly any testing at all. He had to learn during the races…

  11. Poor guy. He supplies engines to cash strapped teams and then wonders why they have to take up pay drivers.

    Ferrari have done a better job here. They got a sister brand invest into Sauber solving their money problems partially. And they have changed the business model with Haas reducing their costs significantly.

    Mercedes need to do something like this.

  12. What a strange thing to say.
    There are currently more very young drivers in F1 than ever. We’ve seen lots of young drivers get a chance and dropping away in a couple of years again. More young drivers in means more short term careers in F1.

    But apart from Max none of the current young drivers have won a race. It is hard to get into the top teams because those seats are held by the young drivers of old that got a chance and proved their worth: Kimi, Seb and Lewis.

    Now let us just look at which teams the top drivers got their chance. Kimi: McLaren. Lewis: McLaren. Seb: Red Bull. Daniel: Red Bull. Max: Red Bull. now Gasly: Red Bull and Lando: McLaren…
    Time and again Ferrari and Mercedes have signed experienced drivers from other teams rather than youngsters from their own talent programs. At best they let them simmer a bit at their engine client teams, but they never go up to the works team.
    Maybe Ferrari have finally seen the light; Leclerc seems to get dressed in red next year.
    But Mercedes don’t dare replace Bottas by the talented Ocon.

    Toto, Valtteri is a nice guy but he will never be World Champion, not even in a Mercedes. Youngsters may fail (like Heikki and others at McLaren did) but can also be the next big thing. You just need to try them out.

    You don’t need a 3rd car. You need bigger balls.

    1. COTD!

      I’d only add that Ferrari gave Massa a chance. Since then, however, only disillusion. Damn, they let Bianchi die without giving him a chance!

    2. Good point, toto should look at himself first. He’s the one who didn’t give one of his own juniors a chance when a spot opened up. Why carry juniors when you are not going to use them. In that sense F1 does owe Red Bull a big thank you for having the balls to give young drivers a shot even though you might lose them in the future.

  13. No third cars. Terrible idea, too much ability to manipulate the races and podiums full with one constructor. Not to mention the points eligibility issue…urgh. We really don’t want a car finishing 3rd, but the driver who’s actually classified 4th getting 3rd place points.

    2 car dominance is bad enough without this disaster of an idea.

    1. +1 (Agreed.)
      Once Luca Di Montezemolo had same idea. That was also as bad as this is.

  14. Allowing customer teams to use more from the official factory cars or even running a factory car as their own could be an easy solution. More competitive cars on the grid and the top cars get revenue from leasing/selling cars to customers. Running would be by the customer so if they screw up they fall short. If they nail the choices better than the factory team then they could win… Yes even take wins! Wouldn’t that be something? It could even be linked to a mandatory second junior driver. So the customer can run one experienced driver and must run one junior when they purchase a ready to run car.

    Budgets wouldn’t be such a problem. More opportunities for juniors and more competition.
    A Max of two cars from one manufacturer scoren points in the championship could be introduced if needed too.

  15. The problem with allowing the top teams to run a 3rd car is that it pushes the mid-field teams further down the order with less chance to score points & Potentially less TV exposure.

    Your also giving the top teams more data & More opportunity to test new things on more cars which is going to give them a bigger advantage than they already have.

    Your also introducing the potential for teams to use 3rd cars tactically to hold up title rivals like we saw Mercedes do with Bottas at Monza. If you have a 3rd car that fall’s out of the title fight sooner this just open up sooner opportunities to do this sort of thing.

    And what if a team finds a dominant advantage? Instead of 2 cars running away you have 3, Would 3 Mercedes locking out of the podium be seen as a good thing? Afterall we saw nothing but complaints when it was just 2.

    People sometimes say it will get rid of pay drivers but given the cost will go up with a 3rd car this just makes pay drivers more likely. Maybe Mercedes, Ferrari & even Red Bull could afford to run 3 cars in there existing budget but what about everyone else, Some of who are already struggling to afford the 2 they have.

    Something I would allow is for teams to run a single car. This could give new entrants especially an opportunity to enter F1 with cheaper operating cost. Yes there may be negatives in terms of less data for development, But it gives them a starting point to potentially add a 2nd car in the future once they have everything sorted out & found there footing.

    As for customer cars, I don’t think thats much better as again your pushing mid-field teams who have already spent resources on facilities for designing/building/developing there own cars further down the grid. Why should a Force India who can build there own car be pushed behind teams who have simply brought themselves a competitive package from a top team. That wouldn’t be fair on a team that has invested millions over the years to put in place good facilities as a constructor.

  16. Its a dream but the cost would not allow. If they were to bring costs down it possable. Never goin to happon in our life. Why not run 2cars paided for by the FIA ect. And let em run young guns

  17. This moves the roadblock to whatever artificial cut-off point is designated by the FIA, while making the front of races even more monotonous (three Mercs is three Mercs even if no points are given to the third one), weakening the midfield/backmarkers by reducing TV exposure and sponsorship opportunities, and increasing costs (Toto Wolff said back in 2014 that it costs £20 m to run a third car). Also, it will increase the power of the biggest teams, which are already deemed too powerful, and thus cause more difficulty in getting anything that actually needs to happen done.

    I appreciate that Toto is trying to get more spaces for drivers to come through the system. However, making it viable for independent teams to start is the only sustainable way of doing this… …even if it means teams like Mercedes have to voluntarily spend less money (and no, I don’t think putting a cost cap in will do anything to cause big teams to spend less money, due to enforceability problems).

  18. So he can pull off even more team orders than today.
    Sounds good.

  19. I am not opposed to 3rd cars, I can see the arguments for both sides but in the end, I just really want to see up to 30 cars on the grid. Yes, many changes to the current system would be needed but sometimes burning down to rebuild is the best solution.

    However, IF the impetus is to introduce young drivers to the grid, great.
    Give the podium for the supporting F2 race a car each and have them take part in the F1 race. Every team has a spare chassis, nominate the teams for each GP to bring one and allocate them power units outside the system. OR run a FIA academy -team with cars, equipment and all.

    Yes, there would be many issues in the implementation but, more cars, more opportunities

    1. @uneedafinn2win 30 is unrealistic. The cap has traditionally been 26 (Or less at times) due to pit/paddock space among other things.

      More than 26 may not be such an issue at the newer venues that tend to have massive facilities but some of the older venues may struggle to support more than 26 cars & there may be 1-2 that would struggle with 26.

  20. Why not run the 3rd car in Practice AND Qualifying.

    If the young rookie out qualifies Hamilton or Bottas, he/she gets to race in the car they qualified in. The lowest qualifier drops out.

    That wouldn’t be boring, it won’t cause any problems on race day and it gives young drivers a chance to shine (if they’re good enough) so Toto doesn’t have the risk his precious constructors championship.

    Could give some really good results in Qualy too.

  21. No. If they want to see young talent in top cars, bring back non-Championship races…which will never happen. But having third cars in the race would create too many variables. I don’t like the idea of having 18 and 19 year olds getting directly to F1 anyway. For exceptional talent, maybe. But as a rule it’s wrong. Since Max Verstappen came, moving around in braking zone has become more or less acceptable…at least in his mind. I believe it is because he simply did not have enough time to develop his racecraft.

  22. Yes TOTO im with you, with this way the teams can have 2 “WingMans” for better results…

  23. You’d need all teams to run 3 cars to make it fair, no other way. If the 3rd car doesn’t get points, they can still be used as blocks.

  24. Wouldn’t a junior driver Sunday sprint race in current-spec cars be a better idea so as not to interfere (in terms of points or on-track placement) with the championships?

  25. No.

    Firstly a podium of 3 Mercedes/Ferrari/Red Bull would be boring to watch – just imagine the team orders?! Already we have the top 6 largely dominated by 3 teams and this would expand it to the top 9. Even if the ‘third car’ didn’t score points it’s still ‘there’, so will the driver score points? If not then working out the top ten would be annoying as cars down to 15th place or whatever might actually be top ten points scorers. It’s silly.

    F1 really has to take power AWAY from the manufacturer teams, not increase their strength.

    Always thought F1 should set up some smaller teams itself, with a basic car and an engine that is only used by those teams. At the very least the F2 winner would be guaranteed a race seat as prize, there would be fluid spaces on the grid for unfortunate people like Ocon or for ‘bigger teams’ younger drivers, and the grid would be larger.

    Or allow ALL TEAMS to run additional, single-car and rebranded teams. So for instance Mercedes could ressurect Manor as a 1-car team, Red Bull-Honda could reuse Super Aguri, Renault could use Lotus or Caterham. Not much better than having three identical cars as they’d just be rebranded, but I think it’d be easier to swallow than three identical cars sweeping the podium.

  26. Can’t be a special third car. That creates all sorts of loopholes for team orders / crashes. All teams mandatory to run three cars, equally treated. Poor teams cant afford it should just quit. We need more front runnig cars.

  27. Ryan Fairweather
    6th September 2018, 13:01

    I mentioned this years ago on here and Keith slated me for it. What does he think now? I suggested the teams could run a third driver who has to be a rookie and that car is ineligible for constructors points, or only the two highest placed cars get constructors points.

  28. Let them run the Friday Free Practice sessions with the other cars, set their grid based on these sessions. Then let them race a 40% race distance between FP3 and Qualifying, or at the time it works best without disturbing the current schedule with the other series sharing the weekend with F1.

    More content for the fans live at the circuit and on the Internet, teams get reduced exposure but valuable data, not extra wingmen affecting the race on Sunday.

  29. Sometimes I question Toto’s intelligence. Why should the top teams receive a third car and the bottom teams not to? Let them drive on FP1 every weekend to get some experience. Not more than that.

    1. +1 worst idea ever. I would rather suggest going back to only 1 car, providing Liberty can at least attract 20 contestants.

  30. No I am not in favour of this idea. Not in Toto’s proposed format.

    It would help young drivers but how is it going to help the grid as a whole? The smaller teams can barely afford to run two drivers and be competitive. I think we would end up with perhaps 12, 15 cars from 4 or 5 teams and some of the smaller teams would disappear completely.

    The idea of having no constructor points for the 3rd car has been mooted but then we might have, for example the 7th car crossing the line finishing 4th in the points. How about race strategy as well?

    A better idea would be to encourage more independent teams or more joint ventures between the big 3/4 teams and smaller ones. Or perhaps junior treams such as Torro Rosso might be only answer. How about making this a requirement for the main teams? The big 3/4/5 certainly have the budget available so this could be linked to the budget cap?

  31. Let’s give the biggest spending teams an even greater advantage! Fantastic idea!

  32. I like TW and agree with much of what he says, but I have to agree with the majority here that think this is a bad idea. It’s almost like he has forgotten the things that have been pointed out here, like the potential for only the top three teams to lock out the points most days. And there has always been only so many seats to fill with many drivers waiting in the wings. It’s almost like he is obsessed with finding Ocon a ride, and is forgetting other realities…so easily sloughing off the costs of running a third car, and the possible further damage to F1’s unpredictability factor by adding three top cars from three top teams into the top 10 points spots.

  33. I think the only way to make this feasible is for F1/Liberty to pay someone like Lola or Tatuus to build a spec F1 car that ALL such young drivers would use with a spec engine. Make it F1 light (or GP1?). The cars could run with F1 cars but as part of their own championship – it’s separate scoring and a separate podium ceremony.

    Oh wait…isn’t that basically what F2 is, except with their own races? If F2 is supposed to be the premier feeder series to F1, shouldn’t F2 be doing most of the development Wolff is talking about? If F2 isn’t getting the job done, maybe we should be focusing on how to improve F2 instead.

  34. I presume this is being offered as an alternative to cost caps in the hope of increasing the number of teams on the grid. Regardless, this would be a boon for the teams that can afford to run a third car… mo data!

    And I didn’t realize the Pat Symonds was working for the FIA this season… someone should update his Wikipedia page.

  35. Give us a third car and make it mandatory to put a young driver in there, with a maximum two years in that car.

    Yeah, more enforced crappy regulation is definitly what we need…

    That guy is really annoying. Keeps playing for the crowd to appear somewhat centered or caring with the sport, while he isn’t any different from the others. Had he been truthful, he’d signed Ocon over Bottas. Esteban is better than Valtteri already. A better — and experienced! — driver who’s from Mercedes programme, by the way. But he didn’t. So, Toto, keep your bullcrap for yourself and good luck deceiving the unwary.

    As for the issue itself, just start allowing single private entrants and stop pooping ordinances.
    Jeez.

  36. Let’s see, force teams to run 3 cars, and, force teams to comply with a budget cap. Seems a bit at cross purposes doesn’t it?

    Not to mention that some fans feel the current F1 talent is watered down with at least a couple of “pay” drivers. Even if the 3rd driver points do not count, will rookie errors that take out contenders count, even if completely unintentional?

    Under the correct circumstances F1 fans would love to see more, deserving young drivers in F1. Maybe if it were attractive for new teams to enter that would provide proper opportunity for those drivers. But, forcing Toto’s proposition demanding they run 3 cars while running the current 2 cars per team is already daunting enough does not sound attractive at all.

  37. I think FIA or Liberty or both should make a one car team (or two) and put there the F2 champion .

  38. Merc really need a Toro Rosso style team and we really need a bigger grid. So much talent and not enough available seats.

  39. Well it i a good idea, providing they can run three cars within the agreed cost cap.

  40. How about a F1 (FOM) centralised junior programme with at the top 4 cars competing in F1? Participants can be from any colour/contract and have the opp to promote to their supporting team. Funded by the all teams, running independently with a car that has… I do not know what engine.. What would be good? Seperate engine or one off one of the top teams?

    1. + what @bilarxos said: F2 champ has guaranteed ride

  41. Who is to define “top teams”?

  42. Let’s have 1 car teams back instead. Would love a 21th century Hesketh…

  43. A friend of mine and I have discussed various systems of three tiers of teams. The general idea would be to have the top teams support the back teams with independent teams in the middle. Let’s call them A, B and C-teams. A-teams would run without a budget cap (basically today’s Mercedes, Ferrari and RedBull). B-teams would have to stay under a reasonable budget cap. C-teams would have an even lower budget cap and also be limited to inexperienced drivers. The kicker would be that if you choose to run your team under the A-rules you would also have to support a C-team. In short, stay under the budget cap or be forced to put more cars, with inexperienced drivers, on the grid. As C-teams would technically be separate entities it would be more like the RedBull-ToroRosso situation than having 3rd cars.

    Another deeper discussion would have to follow concerning if C-teams have to develop their own cars, if they can rent cars from other teams or perhaps use last years models etc. Also interesting would be if B-teams and A-teams have different limitations on things like CFD, wind tunnel usage etc. That could be used to give the lower budget teams more freedom to find performance gains and catch up with the front runners.

    It all comes down to what we want to achieve. As I see it the main goal is more cars on the grid which automatically opens more chances for new drivers to get a seat. Another is to level the playing field so that the top teams don’t run away in performance making it unattractive for new teams to join in.

  44. If it were to happen, that 3rd car couldn’t be scoring any points for the constructor, but how about points for the driver in a separate “rookies” championship…
    That may confuse people that the car finishing 7th scores 25 points for it’s rookie driver while the car in 6th scores less for it’s driver in the real drivers championship but that could be explained by a dancing guy in a chicken costume using sign language in the corner of the screen.
    That is in addition to the tyre hippo. It explains the difference between the soft, super soft, super duper soft, mega soft, super mega soft, super duper mega soft, hypersoft, super hyper soft, super duper hyper soft, super duper mega hyper soft and extra super duper mega hyper soft.

  45. I think this is fine, with two stipulations:
    1.) The car cannot be updated at all through the season, except for critical reasons in the name of safety only. What races in Australia is what races in Abu Dhabi.
    2.) The third car’s points are excluded from the manufacturer’s team championship points. The driver is, of course, allowed to compete in the driver’s championship.

  46. What I really like to see is for all teams in general is to test out Indy Car drivers. No matter how old they are, at least give them a chance to drive an F1 car and experience it a part of a bucket list.

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