Three-car teams? Three new teams? No easy answer to F1’s shortage of seats

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Should Formula 1 teams be allowed to run third cars excusively for young drivers as Mercedes’ Toto Wolff has suggested? In his new column for RaceFans, Dieter Rencken looks at how the sport can find places for more newcomers and finds there’s no straightforward solution.

The concept of three-car (or more) Formula 1 teams is hardly new: the very first world championship grand prix, held at Silverstone on 13th May 1950, featured four entries each from Alfa Romeo and Talbot Lago. The 1952 German Grand Prix saw four Ferraris fill the top four places, a feat repeated by Mercedes in Britain three years later, and Maserati and Cooper thereafter.

Two decades later McLaren campaigned two cars in regular Marlboro livery and one under Yardley colours to solve a particularly tricky contractual issue. That said, the team’s F1 debut at the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix saw just a single car entered, for the team owner, whereas in 1978 the team campaigned five cars in Italy.

Multi-car teams dwindled over the following years. The 1985 German Grand Prix marked the last time a trio entered by the same constructor featuring on a grand prix grid – Renault, with cars for Derek Warwick, Patrick Tambay and Francois Hesnault.

The regulations were later changed, making it mandatory for teams to enter no more or less than two cars each. “No more than 26 cars will be admitted to the championship, two being entered by each competitor,” reads article 8.6 of today’s sporting regulations.

That’s unequivocal. Noah would be immensely proud were he around to see a modern F1 grid (particularly as teams often to line up two-by-two). But suddenly three-car teams are back on the agenda.

Mercedes Motorsport CEO Toto Wolff floated the idea as a way of solving a dilemma of the team’s own making: having more drivers under contract than seats to put them in, with next year’s W10s already earmarked for one multiple champion and one multiple race-winner. Thus Toto’s logic goes: let us (or anyone else keen on the idea) run third cars as means of accommodating talented young drivers who otherwise stare unemployment in the face, while simultaneously filling grids.

“I like the idea,“ explained Wolff, “because I felt the more cars we had in the field, the more opportunity we give to young, exciting drivers to fight in a competitive car against experienced drivers, it would create great stories.”

Toto Wolff, Silverstone, 2018
Wolff sees third cars as a fix to his driver surplus
“Maybe [it is] an easier access for talent.”

On the surface, three-car teams tick those two boxes. But, as is all-too-often the case in F1, the knock-on effects of quick fixes – particularly those punted as part of a particular team’s agenda – outweigh their immediate advantages.

Consider a grid where the top dozen might be made up of as few as four different cars instead of the current six. And imagine the impact on the constructors’ championship, which currently pays points to the top 10 places. These could be filled by three three-car teams, plus a (p)lucky interloper.

Equally, the strategic benefits of having two competitive cars were made clear by Wolff’s comments in Australia after Valtteri Bottas crashed in qualifying and Ferrari won. Imagine the advantages to – select – teams of having third cars. In this context, ‘select’ means those who can afford them…

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Certain demerits of any concept could, of course, be mitigated through judicious tinkering, such as by paying points further down the order, or by prohibiting more than two cars from scoring points – whether as a baseline or by excluding the third car from the points, possibly even elevating all subsequent competitors.

Imagine the utterly logical scenario: The ‘Big Four’, having the means and needs to do so, enter three cars each, and lock out the top 10; but as their third cars do not qualify for points the driver finishing 13th on track eventually picks up points for ninth. A mathematical nightmare, and proof of how just how myopic pandering to a particular set of circumstances creates a multitude of problems.

Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Circuit de Catalunya, 2010
Three new team boosted grids temporarily from 2010
The three-car argument is a sticking plaster solution to graver F1 ills. Third cars were last bandied about around 2013 when it seemed the grid might shrink to just eight teams: HRT had collapsed, Manor-Marussia and Caterham were teetering and Sauber was in dire straits, too. Eight teams running three cars seemed an obvious ‘fix’, but not one which would address the sport’s deeper problems.

Then as now, the root cause is commercial inequity. Three of those teams went to the wall despite the sport’s multi-billion dollar turnover. In their place just one (Haas, whose Ferrari connection makes it a unique case) has arrived. A sport which loses teams faster than it can replace them is not in good health.

In Singapore Wolff indicated he may table the issue at the Strategy Group meeting (held last week) but did admit he is not “flavour of the month” and thus it was likely to be shouted down. According to sources the matter was not discussed, so either Wolff saw the writing on the wall, or has since thought better of it.

Regardless, let’s return to that clause 8.6 above: No more than 26 cars will be admitted to the Championship, two being entered by each competitor.

It’s been 23 years since F1 last played host to 26 cars. The closest it’s come this millennium was in 2010-12, when 24 cars graced grids, including Manor, Caterham and HRT (under various guises) following an aborted initiative by the FIA to introduce a $40m budget cap formula. Indeed, F1 came within a whisker of 26 cars but for still-born USF1, which failed even before completing its first car.

By the time the cap was canned the others were too far down the road and ended up racing against far better equipped rivals. Within seven years, all three had gone. Thus, since the beginning of the 21st century F1 has operated with an average of 10 teams or, expressed statistically, at 76 per cent of its potential.

And F1 believes itself to be the pinnacle of the sport…

Can it be coincidental that F1 has singularly failed to fill 26-car grids since the FIA, then presided over by Max Mosley, completed a deal to hive off F1’s commercial rights to the former barrister’s decades-long Bernie Ecclestone for a relative pittance? Ecclestone in turn cut deals with teams that collectively paid them just 23 per cent of F1’s retained revenues. Who or what could live off that sort of income?

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The answer is motor manufacturers, who flocked to F1 but, tellingly, all bar Toyota did so by buying existing teams. With the subsequent loss of Prost, F1’s grids were back to square one despite attracting the world’s (then) largest motor manufacturer to the fray which, in turns, spent a total of three billion dollars over eight years to not win a single race.

Once the bulk of manufacturers – Jaguar Racing, Honda, BMW, Toyota and Renault – realised they’d been had by Ecclestone (who simultaneously reduced free-to-air TV broadcasts, which in turn reduced the number of freebie eyeballs the car companies craved) – they pushed for greater slices of F1’s income, and were eventually awarded a collective 50 per cent, but the damage had been done.

Toyota, 2009
F1 hasn’t lured its lost manufacturers back
Thus they eventually departed, leaving F1 all the poorer when it came to grids, gravitas and grandeur. Red Bull purchased Jaguar’s team, Honda (which briefly entered a B-team, Super Aguri) was given to Ross Brawn on a plate (and later returned as an engine supplier), Genii/Lotus was eventually sold back to Renault after racking up losses year on year, and Toyota withdrew and went WEC. If car companies couldn’t collectively sustain F1, who could now?

Of course, the word in the paddock was that the global economic crisis had knocked the stuffing out of them. Yet they did not stop advertising, nor cease sponsorship activities – they simply pulled out of F1, which suggests F1 was cost-ineffective as a marketing platform and/or a technological pedestal. Logically, had it been the opposite they – most certainly – would have stayed, for who doesn’t like cost-effective?

That, in a nutshell, is the overriding problem, one that persists to this day: F1 does not wash the faces of teams, only of the commercial rights holder. Hence F1’s value has risen from a (derisory) $313m Ecclestone (eventually) paid the FIA in 2000 to the $8bn Liberty paid the sport’s previous owner, venture fund CVC Capital Partners who had, in turn, acquired the rights from a bunch of banks for less than a quarter that.

The bottom line is that in order to operate at 100 per cent – i.e. with 26 teams, meaning six bright young talents could be accommodated at a stroke – F1 would need to further dilute its revenue distribution. Already Mercedes and Ferrari are squealing loudly about proposed post-2020 cuts; imagine the crescendo were their shares to be cut by an additional 20 per cent to accommodate three more teams?

Equally, F1’s prevailing revenue structure pays down to 10th place – rather conveniently, but coincidentally, the number of teams on the current grid. Imagine, though, 13 teams: do three teams simply lose out, which would defeat the objective; does the present cake get sliced thirteen ways, meaning each team receives an average of 23 per cent less income; or does Liberty some of its profits, to the chagrin of shareholders?

To put that in perspective, under the current structure 10 teams share around a billion dollars annually, or $100m average each. True, payouts vary according to performance, heritage and bonuses, so Ferrari this year receives around $150m versus Sauber’s $35m. Reduce that by 23 per cent to accommodate 26-car grids, and Ferrari’s take drops to $115m while Sauber’s is trimmed to $27m.

George Russell, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018
F2 points leader Russell lacks F1 options for 2019
Would you, as a team boss, sanction grid growth under those circumstances? Ditto, demanding that Liberty covers the shortfalls means its shareholders would lose out on $300m in profits. Again, who would accept that sort of squandering?

Whichever way it’s sliced – whether third cars or grid growth – there is no long-term solution to the prickly problem of accommodating promising youngsters such as F2 championship leader George Russell and established star Esteban Ocon on current grids unless they have extremely rich benefactors, and even then there are no open seats.

Thus the only solution is for teams to take punts on youngsters, and here F1’s sport’s complicated technical and sporting regulations conspire against them. So complex are the cars and so limited is seat time that teams are often reluctant to take chances on unproven youngsters. Hence Sauber, which built its name by gambling on youngsters like Felipe Massa and Kimi Räikkönen, re-signed the Finn at the ripe age of 38.

So if answer to F1’s youth conundrum is not third cars and grid growth is unrealistic, what will encourage more teams to take a chance on emerging talents? Could the sport consider a process of relegation: just as performance points are required to gain an F1 superlicence, so they should be mandatory to retain a seat at motorsport’s top table. Finish in the lower quarter of the championship, and you’re out, regardless.

Of course, there would be howls that such a structure is unfair on drivers stuck in uncompetitive teams, but is such a system any less fair than a Russell or Ocon ending up being unemployed? F1 has never been about fairness but rather about maximising opportunities, and if you’ve blown them you don’t deserve to be about regardless of backing. Equally, teams should be offered incentives to take rookies, most certainly the F2 champion.

With Liberty targeting an increasingly younger demographic, having Golden Oldies aged 40-plus on the grid will hardly deliver the stated objective. After all, some drivers are old enough to be the fathers of the fans Liberty is aiming to attract.

Unless F1 considers seriously its future, it risks not having one, which is worse for business than any number of hands-out to encourage teams to take punts on emerging talents.

Follow Dieter on Twitter: @RacingLines

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86 comments on “Three-car teams? Three new teams? No easy answer to F1’s shortage of seats”

  1. Why not allow one car teams like years ago? As teams build they can then run 2 or 3 cars. Less shipping costs, driver costs, etc. and a way to get those only half committed to at least join the club. The barrier to entry is simply too high at the moment.

    1. @john-h, because, as Dieter notes, you do not halve the costs when you do that – shipping costs are pretty marginal when compared to overall development costs, and the development costs aren’t going to be reduced that much by cutting down to a single car.

      1. Yes, see my response below. I would see one car as an entry point to go on and manufacture, ship, race, maintain, etc. two cars in future years. As a repost, there’s a good reason we don’t have spare cars anymore.

        1. Actually the teams do carry a spare chassis and all the bits. They just can’t have it put together.

    2. In practical terms, would you start the race with more drivers on track, or eliminate more drivers in qualifying.
      Can you imagine a start with a 50% more drivers on the track, what would that look like. Even the qualifying would be hectic.

  2. One car teams may be a better idea.

  3. Because teams need to build their own cars and it costs almost as much to build one as two, but one provides half the marketing bang.

    1. What about entering selected races? Like a team allowed to run only the European races for instance. That also happened in the past, and I know teams are forbidden to miss more than a couple of raves, but maybe it’s cheaper to ran selected races before a full assault the year after.

    2. I see your point on the design side, however I would see it more as an entry process to build upon (i.e. with a long term business plan to extend to 2 or 3 cars once the first season is navigated). I’d also argue it’s not as simple as half the marketing bang though. All the team marketing would still exist, and having 2 cars doesn’t mean double the TV time anyway I’d guess. I’m guessing much F1 marketing isn’t through the official broadcast anyway.

      I’m not sure, but why have the restriction anyway – if a team can’t afford to do it, well it just happens naturally. Admittedly I haven’t got the numbers in front of me!

      1. Even if we ignore the marketing bang for buck though, we still have both the potential to score points being a lot higher with two cars than with one AND the potential for a driver bringing a budget (either as a pay driver or by bringing sponsors with them) to fund development of the cars

      2. Well, how about removing the rule that the cars need identical livery? If a team could find two sets of sponsors to decorate their cars with, why not? IIRC Eddie Jordan tried to do this with the Jordans but the FIA stopped him; I think he tried reverse liveries.

        On another topic, the real issue (IMHO) with team payments and their possible increase is that Liberty is pretty much up the creek financially, as far as I can see. A certain Mr. Ecclestone basically hocked FOM to the gills with loans to pay out dividends to shareholders, generating billions ($5 billion?) in debt. When Liberty bought FOM they had to assume that debt; they have very little room to increase team payments with the servicing costs for Bernie’s paydays. I suspect that unless Liberty bring in new revenue streams, such as the F! streaming thing they are doing, they will be in big trouble when tracks start demanding reductions in fees. Another factor is the loss of free to air TV and the lack of new enthusiasts; F1 fans are aging quickly and they are not picking up the youth; without free to air few who are not already fans will get attracted as they won’t be exposed to F1, a viscous Catch-22 of the worst (or best) kind. Liberty is an American company, and as an American fan I can tell you Formula One does not exist in the US; this is the type of barrier that Liberty will find very difficult to penetrate to generate new fans.

        1. Don’t know about Jordan, but BAR wanted to run one car in (white) Lucky Strike livery and one in (blue) 555. The FIA wouldn’t allow it, so the team came up with the hideous idea of having half-and-half livery on both cars.

        2. Excellent post.

          All stakeholders are in a difficult position, and some will go bust without root and branch reform. No ideas should be rejected without scrutiny. Even Mercedes is now under a question mark as Dr Z is resigning in the next few months – his replacement may not be so keen for the company to remain in F1 after so many wins.

          It seems to me that free to air TV is essential if new sponsors are to be found. Also required is much more uncertainty about winners. For just 3 teams to win every race in years and years is ridiculous. Only die hard fans will stay up for that. If we want younger fans, then F1 must be less expensive – young people do not have as much money as older people.

          Maybe there should be fewer championship races, and a few non-championship events, with a different format. Maybe there should be a claiming rule as they have in MotoGP, and anyone can enter a GP so long as they pass scrutineering and qualify. Personally I’d do away with appearance money completely – it looks awful – imagine it in any other sport and the cry of cheating would come up immediately. All benefits should go to teams equally – like transportation. No team is above F1. Money should be awarded transparently, on points with podium bonuses.

          The future of F1 is a difficult issue and the solution is unlikely to be easy or simple. All we know is that it cannot stay as it is. Liberty have the most to lose, so they ought to be firmest in banging heads together and getting on with it.

    3. What if they just wanted to go racing and didn’t mind the reduced exposure? One car teams could take the HAAS-Ferrari route fairly easily I would think. Whomever they purchased from could then place a young driver? Makes too much sense.

      The cost to even begin that scenario is still way too high I’m afraid, so, pipe dreaming.

    4. You could be creative with marketing for a single car and if the team felt confident enough to add a second one, that could happen.

      The distribution of money must be sorted out but could stability in regulations be the key to attract newcomers? 2017 saw a change and then there are proposals for 2021 to change the cars again.

  4. More cars through newcomers, no third car (this will just create even fewer teams winning). Start with a strict budget cap to enable new entrants. Break manufacturer dominance (if they want to leave, let them.. think long term not short term). No need for long debates in search for compromises, show leadership and own your F1 product Liberty. You’ve had your time to look around and explore. If by now you still want to make everybody happy I suggest you’d rather sell everything. It is not that complex: budget cap (through mix of standard parts and simply ‘the cap’) + aero changes to enable more overtakes. Quit stalling, take action.

    1. @mayrton I don’t disagree but these things do take time. They can’t just overnight cut budgets, nor have the teams redesign their cars. Not without favouring as usual the top teams. What you are asking for is in the works, but I like Liberty’s deliberate approach to it that gives the lesser teams the time to adapt (not to the budget cap of course because they’re not even at the cap level of spending).

      But overall I agree with what Liberty wants to do. Make F1 more affordable in which to compete, make the cars race closer for more gladiator vs gladiator racing that also invites some surprises from lesser teams. Grow the audience by improving the show, and that should grow revenues such that if there were 13 teams, they would be sharing from increased revenues from Liberty, not ‘robbing’ from, or thinning out, the same level of revenues they have now.

  5. No to three-car teams, but a higher number of teams on the grid I’d be OK with as long as the backmarkers could realistically compete with the rest of the field, which wasn’t the case from 2010 till 2012 when the number of teams was 12 (24 cars).

  6. Only way to improve and diversify the grid is to get manufacturers backs.
    I loved the days of Jordan Peugeot, Toyota Racing etc

  7. Maybe a 3rd car per team which operates outside of the regular WDC/WCC championship points (so if it comes 3rd, the car behind it gets the points for 3rd). Also make it that the driver of the designated 3rd car must be some combination of inexperienced and under a certain age.

    1. No 3rd car please, I think the third car will be used as a “roadblock” or “racing incident creator” to help the car #1 and #2…

    2. Not a good idea, I believe. As @DieterRencken says: “Imagine the utterly logical scenario: The ‘Big Four’, having the means and needs to do so, enter three cars each, and lock out the top 10; but as their third cars do not qualify for points the driver finishing 13th on track eventually picks up points for ninth. A mathematical nightmare, and proof of how just how myopic pandering to a particular set of circumstances creates a multitude of problems.” it would just create too many other problems. Not necessarily ‘mathematical nightmare’ but just plain silly situations. Plus, it would go directly against the FIA declared WYSIWYG policy…which is why they instituted ‘suspended time races’ instead of ‘aggregate time races’ in 2007 and are driving me crazy with it ever since!

  8. As a fan, more cars on track and young talent given a chance sounds great. But Wolff is just being a hypocrite. If Merc wants seats for their Youth Programme get a B team like RB did or Ferrari is doing with Sauber. A third chassis would be cheaper for Merc but midfield teams are already struggling. An extra car, driver, mechanics, etc. would put their budgets under more pressure than they already are.

    1. I’m not sure he is a hypocrite, but I think he has been stung by re-signing Bottas so early. Of course he won’t admit it, but I suspect that he had thought the deal was done to place Ocon at Renault leaving a FI seat available for Russell (with Mercedes support) enabling him to re-sign Bottas for a year. But Ricciardo’s sudden move surprised everyone as did the Strolls purchase of FI (although Toto clearly had a hand in this) and came after Bottas’ contract had been announced.

      I believe that had Bottas’ contract not been done when the driver market exploded, Ocon would be in that 2nd Mercedes seat hence his frustration.

      1. @asanator I can see that.

      2. I still don’t understand how team managers can also be driver managers. And the Toto Wolff situation shows it perfectly. I doubt he would sign Bottas in the place if Toto’s not Bottas’ manager, let alone resigning him so early in the season.

        1. If memory serves, I think Toto stepped away from managing Bottas when he signed for Mercedes sighting a conflict of interest.

          1. Ah, just did a search. You’re right.

  9. Bring three teams up from F2, give them the choice of engine and the ability to buy parts like Haas has done, then have one team relegated each season back to F2. F1 and F2 need to work as a Premier League / Second Division – with parachute payments etc. You’ll still have drivers who have been relegated and can’t get a seat in F1 the following year, but at least they would have had a season to show they deserve an F1 seat, and there’d be 26 seats available rather than 20.

    1. Thanks to the sky-high costs of startup and continuing a F1 team (the annual running of the cheapest F1 team these days costs over 10 times the cost of the priciest F2 team), it would guarantee the three F2 teams folding before the end of the first season, unless they dropped or declined the F1 invite.

  10. I think the main issue is how new teams are expected to enter into the sport. 2 years without any income, have to start from scratch and design and build and race 2 cars for full season. I think new teams should be given more leeway so it would be easier to get into the sport. Allow new teams to run 1 or 2 cars, allow them to participate as many or as few races as they want (say there is minimum of 1/3 of races where they must qualify inside the 107%), give them more technical freedom to buy parts from other teams. Give them income based on the races and finishes they achieve just like they were normal team. Allow them to run any amount of drivers and sponsors and helmets they want during a season as long as they have super license. Allow them to run any kind of livery they want on any race they participate. Or even give the new teams some more technical freedoms on their first season to prevent them being totally outclassed on their first season (like caterham, hrt and marussia were all the time).

    Then on second season you demand either 2 cars and a partial season attendance or 1 driver and full season. Give them less parts available to buy from other teams so the team must design and build bigger portion of their car. On third season they must play under the same rules as the rest. This kind of approach would make it easier to build the engineering team and facilities and wait for gardening leaves for the more important personnel when building the team. This would also cut down massively the time it takes to get an f1 from drawing board to the races because you can build your team while you are racing.

    It would require some planning ahead though. We don’t want to be in a situation before every race where we wonder whether the new team is there or not. So we should still require them to declare before the first season which races they are going to do. They should be allowed to do more than that though and when and if they did then it would be a positive surprise instead of negative one.

    What if someone just entered a one car team hoping to cash in into the f1 prize money? There is still the 50 million entry fee. I doubt it would make much financial sense to enter into f1 to run a hrt style backmarker team to just collect the participation award money because you can’t really make your money back in the short time. After 2 years you’d have to run normal f1 team anyways so taking that kind of approach would not work.

    1. So you’re thinking perhaps something like the Ferrari-Haas model? A friend and I were discussing how this would indeed permit more new entrants for the good of the sport. Of course, limit the level of partnership – how much of the car’s parts you can purchase – and graduate it so that each subsequent year the percentage of parts you mush manufacture yourself goes up.

      1. Ferrari-haas model is imho a great solution for new teams but as time goes on the teams should build bigger portion of their own cars. I am not entirely comfortable with how much of a b-spec ferrari the haas car is but for new teams I’d be willing to open up the rules a lot more.

        The way I see it f1 entry is expensive for many reasons and one is that regardless of who you are (toyota, nissan, porsche, some f2 team or some other race car manufacturer) one needs to build the infrastructure in relatively short time frame to be able to build competent f1 cars while at the same time being totally on the mercy of their suppliers and luck when you try to hire enough personnel and buy equipment for the critical positions. Wind tunnels, factories, tooling, and all other equipment.

        By allowing smoother entry the new team could build up little slower but in more controlled fashion which would also help with the costs as you don’t need to buy everything opportunistically but can plan ahead with a known time table. But at the same it is important that the teams must design and build their cars at some point. So the percentage of the car that the team builds must go up as you said. I don’t know if 2 years is suitable time frame from bought car to fully designed car but it sounds more tempting for sure than the current system.

        1. Honestly, I’m so unconcerned by the customer car situation we have these days compared to back in the Honda/S.A days.

          And I guess that highlights the problem further. We’re willing to accept almost anything to try to get a healthy grid again.

          (@Dieterrencken now that the F1-F4 monikers are all in the same hands, do you think we might be any closer to a team league situation? I’d love to read a full article on this if you ever feel the inclination. I’ve always loved the idea of a promotion/relegation system and me and a mate once spent absolutely ages hashing out solutions to each other’s criticisms and we were convinced we had a workable solution. I wish we hadn’t been so drunk at the time. It might have made us rich.

  11. Sort out the financial situatuon so teams stop giving seats to people like Stroll.

  12. Great article. I gotta admit as a fan I’m often have a myopic view of F1’s problems. I look at each of F1’s problem on its own and play armchair critic in problem-specific ways. F1’s problems can’t and won’t be solved by just giving every team an equal share of FOM revenues a la the NFL – although I personally think that’s the best way. Thanks for giving a more holistic view, @dieterrencken.

  13. No easy fix? That may be true, but it seems to me that F1 needs to have a rational comprehensive plan based designed to fix the obvious problems and generate revenue by producing great racing as the marketable product. Some people love to hate Liberty Media and Ross Brawn, but they have been trying to do just that. Unfortunately, decisions still seem to be driven by big teams seeking to skew the entire sport so that they can maintain the financial and competitive advantages they currently have gained. I was hoping that LM and the FIA would between the two of them have sufficient backbone to impose a rational comprehensive plan upon the sport that they own, but it’s not working out that way. It’s great if you are pleased with F1 as it is today because it isn’t going to change in 2021.

    1. I disagree. I believe the top teams already understand they’ll be taking less revenues from F1 and those will go to the lesser teams for more balance that way. I believe the top teams also understand that it would be going against the spirit of what Liberty are trying to do for example if they sneakily devise ways to keep making a big wake when Brawn wants the cars making less wake. Or if they sneakily find ways to keep spending at the same levels. I think the teams get that they are in a new post-BE era now and there is a new outlook for F1 that BE didn’t care to attend to. You can’t say it’s not working out that way, when indeed we won’t be seeing the real effects of the new regime until 2021 once they can truly wash their hands of the BE effect.

  14. This is a very difficult topic and in truth I’m not sure where I sit in the debate. We currently have ten teams and this doesn’t look like increasing any time soon. It’s a real shame, as 13 strong teams would make the sport feel far more secure than the current reliance on 10. Look at the panic when Force India was almost forced to close. Any less than a 20 car grid is frankly pathetic and we need to avoid that happening.

    What are the arguments against three car teams? I can think of only two; cost and domination. As Dieter points out above, building 1 car is almost as expensive as building 2. The logic holds then that building 3 cars wouldn’t be a huge increase on expenditure, while providing more space for advertising. Shipping it, maintaining it and employing a driver adds to the costs, but surely not much.

    As for domination, this is my bigger concern. Imagine 2014-2016 again, knowing exactly which three cars would fill the podium and usually knowing the order as well. Not good. In present times we’d likely see the top 9 filled by the same cars too, pushing the midfield even further back and making a freak result such as Stroll’s podium in 2017, or Perez or Maldonado in 2012 even less likely.

    That said, I can’t see many other solutions. Such a rule wouldn’t have to be permanent and could be implemented for a season or two to see how we get on. We’d get a nice fat grid, bring in youth, as well as retaining key names such as Alonso or Raikkonen.

    The issue for me isn’t just around young drivers. Take Bottas for instance. We have Ocon sat waiting to take his seat, it’s surely just a matter of time. Is Bottas WDC material? Probably not. Is he worth a space on the grid? Absolutely. Unfortunately though, once dropped by Mercedes, he’s surely going to find himself without a drive in the current set up, which worries me.

    To conclude, I’m tentatively for third cars for a trial period. More cars equals more excitement. More cars equals more drivers in employment. Let’s do it!

    1. @ben-n
      I agree with most of what you said evil-yoda :) (as usual). F1 needs to fill the grid to 26 cars.
      3 equal cars would give the top 3 more domination, so you could have top 2 points scorers at Dieter points out.
      But look at Mercs, say next year, Ocon would block the pack and let BOT & HAM run away.

      Maybe the 3rd car could run a different less performance spec- last years PU or less aero to make them effectively a back runner. Gets your young driver in the car but keeps two top cars. Not ideal solution and hard to police from FIA but having a 3rd ‘2nd tier car” may help? Something needs to change.

      But you are correct, I am a fan of Bottas but now cant see him being WDC but certainly see Ocon being so, yet he wont drive next year, it seems. But what can you do here? Ask Bottas to give up his dream and millions is salary? wont happen.

      @dieterrencken – as always a great article, great to see these insights.

      1. “Ocon would block the pack and let BOT & HAM run away”
        Are you sure it wouldn’t become HAM and OCO running away…?

    2. Toto Wolff has previously said a third car would cost him £25 m (for the total build and run costs), back when he was against the concept. There are only 4 teams that could produce one without increasing their budgets by at least 15% – Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren. Red Bull already behaves as if it has a third and fourth car, even though these are actually of different designs, and McLaren has enough problems without trying to get three cars to work simultaneously. So even if third cars were permitted, I think we would only see 2 cars – a Mercedes and a Ferrari.

      The problem is not a temporary one, and unfortunately I don’t see a solution to the issue of 3rd-car domination, short of making sure the 3rd cars never race at the same time as the 1st and 2nd cars.

  15. I have the solution:

    Put a limit on how much money the paydrivers can bring into F1… Nobody would hire Strol or ERI if they only could bring 100000£ to the team…

    1. And if that meant Williams would fold? Two less seats? And of course it is not really the fault of the lesser teams that the goal posts got moved mid-game to the point of unaffordability, thanks to BE and the power he gave the top teams.

    2. Also how would you police this?

      Normally drivers have sponsorship from large, state or family run companies rather than large chunks of actual cash. For example Santander wanted to sponsor Fernando Alonso in F1 as they are a Spanish bank and he is a Spanish world champion. Lots of the Russian drivers in the paddock are supported by large Russian companies. Sergio Perez has picked up a lot of Mexican sponsors over the years but has no personal connection as far as I am aware to the companies – they are just sponsoring the best Mexican driver. So how would that work?

    3. @Anon It would be easy to work around a driver input cap, in the same way that working around a whole-team budget cap would be easy. Sorry.

  16. The Virus of team orders would only get worse with 3 car teams. “yeah you’re doing great there in third, you don’t score points anyway so just hold up Vettel as long as you can”.

    The solution to Toto’s problem is on the Grid today. He needs his own B Team like Red Bull.

    1. Not on the grid yet as a b-team like Williams or Racing Point Force India would have as much drivers as we have now on the grid, still leaving talented drivers out of a drive.

      Mercedes needs a new team on the grid for their juniors, like Honda had with Super Aguri, like Red Bull has with Toro Rosso or Ferrari has with Sauber. And with the budget cap incoming, it would be a place for their redundant personnel to go to.

      And may be Renault can do the same, so we can have 12 teams on the grid.

      1. @silfen, “SMART RACING” !?

  17. Hi @dieterrencken

    Regarding your comment:

    F1 has never been about fairness but rather about maximising opportunities, and if you’ve blown them you don’t deserve to be about.

    I was wondering what your thoughts were on the possibility of Kvyat returning (again) to Torro Rosso. Personally I think he has already had his opportunities and this should be a drive for someone new.

    Equally, teams should be offered incentives to take rookies, most certainly the F2 champion.

    Surely Mazda’s (sadly ending) Road to Indy initiative is exactly what we need here (whether it liberty themselves, or they find a sponsor) to guarantee the F2 champion at least a season in F1. Maybe offer some additional breaks to a team willing to take them on? (Additional testing perhaps? Off topic, but I like how Moto GP concessions work).

    Finally I think the only way 3rd cars could work is if they were treated akin to DTM’s guest drivers. Not every race and maybe no more than two guests per race. Maybe a bit gimmicky?

  18. I’d like to see either FP1 on Friday converted to a ‘test’ session or a third session added on Fridays for ‘testing’ where at least one car from a team had to have their reserve driver in it. This would provide some value for ‘pay drivers’ without having to put them in a race seat so they can show their merit relative to a team’s #2 driver and, ideally, end up with a situation where teams could decide to allow their #2 and #3 drivers compete to participate in qualifying and the race.

    I’d love to see Friday sessions where we’re able to see Kubica make a televised case for a race seat over Stroll or Sirotkin or any team could bring in a highly touted prospect and let them duke it out with another driver (pay driver or otherwise).

    Regardless, the current ‘lack of seats’ is due to the listless ‘formula’ propped up by gimmicks to increase interest, appeasements to the big mfgs and the financial necessity of putting pay drivers in race seats for the teams without a major multinational corporation funding them.

    1. friday session: reserve driver sprint race!

  19. No 3rd car please, I think the third car will be used as a roadblock, or like a racing incident creator, to help the car 1 and 2 scoring the points.

  20. 3rd cars would only work if there was a wildcard system in place. So say there are 20 drives in Formula 1 in the 10 teams and 20 races a season (for ease of convience). You would allow 4 wildcard appearences per team per year and only 2 wildcards per race – allowing 2 extra garage slots at each race. The team who finishes in 10th place makes their first wildcard selection, followed by the team in 9th and so on. Using your wildcard appearance would not be mandatory and they cannot be swapped.

    This also allows the teams to hire and train additional staff which could be rotated if/when the calendar expands in rounds even further as currently staff rotation seems like massive headache. These wildcard teams and cars could also be utilised for testing (both regular and tire), promotion & fan festival work sparing the already stretched mechanics & engineers.

    I would still pay points down to 10th as per usual – or possibly slightly expanded. This system works well in Moto GP with test riders and test teams making appearences at European rounds to run new parts etc. but it also keeps the test rider in race shape and in the spotlight for a number of rounds.

    What would need to be worked out is the cost of constructing another car and staffing it. If that can be stomached by Mercedes/Ferrari/RB Honda/Renault and covered by sponsorship (say running an American for a few rounds and getting some nice US branding on a side pod for Canada/US/Mexico rounds). For this the third car could drop the requirement for it to match the two permenant cars allowing it to run in a unique livery and/or branding (you may wish to enforce the main colours so that Ocons wildcard Merc was still Silver).

    This is the norm outside of Formula 1 with Indycar, Nascar, Moto GP, WSBK, WEC all running extra cars for large events or sponsorship highlights.

  21. How about this: 13 or 14 teams, each of two cars (I accept some pitlanes may not have enough garages). The 107% rule applies. If you don’t qualify within 107% you don’t race. No exceptions. Thus the range of performance on the grid would be no different from today and each team would have a significant incentive to perform at a specific level. To maintain that incentive, the prize money would need to be spread out a little wider though….

  22. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
    26th September 2018, 16:47

    The current regulations make the sport to expensive. There is not enough money to go around 13 teams and budget caps are not practical. Third cars raise too many issues and standard parts raise too many hackles.

    A combination of technical and sporting rule changes are required

    Technical: Tighter regulations designed to limit performance spread.
    Cleverer people than me should be able to sort this out. e.g simpler wings and engines. In other words it doesn’t matter how much money is thrown at improving performance there is little to be gained.

    Sporting: Customer cars are the answer.
    There use should be limited to new entrants of less than x number of seasons or those teams finishing outside the top x number of teams. These cars could be built and supported by a supplying team for money only. No conditions. First come first served. Customers cannot be ‘dumped’ in favour of another team except by mutual consent. The idea is to establish new and genuinely independent teams. This is a way to be competitive at a reasonable cost.

    The way forward.

    1. @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk: So push F1 into an expensive spec series? To work as you hope the regulations would have to be so tight and prescriptive, F1 would become a spec series, F2+

      1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        27th September 2018, 8:27

        There go your hackles as I suggested might happen!

        If you are going to knock down a suggestion at least offer an alternative.

        It would not be a spec series although we already have many spec parts, the most obvious performance differentiators being the ECU and tyres. Effectively near spec in some areas would be needed yes, but we are talking about the health of the sport here. F1 may well have to become F2+ or die. Not that it would be F2+. The cars would still be much faster and have better teams and drivers.. and more of them.

        Remember I said tighter regulations, not spec. That was only part of the answer. How do you feel about customer cars when controlled as I suggested?

  23. Now, let me start this by saying that I agree that this is massively far fetched and could never ever work in real life, but hear me out.

    Wouldn’t it be good if FOM set aside from the previous years’s takings a modest (not even Force India level) budget and ran two cars themselves. The FOM team could be called something along the lines of the “FOM Rising Stars F1 Team”. It could be like the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award on steroids. The condition could be that the top two uncontracted drivers in F2 would be given an F1 drive for the following season. The car could be designed by a team lead by the likes of Ross Brawn, Pat Symonds and Nikolas Tombazis. Promising graduates from various fields could even be recruited to work for the team. The cars wouldn’t have to be particularly competitive, just a solid, reliable car to get the drivers and engineers into the sport so that they are able to show the F1 establishment what they can do.

    The plan would (a) guarantee that talented drivers get into F1, (b) would show the world that F1 teams could be run to a more modest budget and (c) provide proof that Liberty Media actually care about the sport.

    1. @geemac I think that is an interesting idea. I wouldn’t want to see the drivers and their cars be in the way on race day, so at first blush I’m not sure they should be racing, but at a minimum they could be great at experimenting with changes F1 wants to make for closer racing for example, where they could take what they are learning from having one car behind another in their wind tunnel, and have this team you are suggesting do on-track testing and experimenting on Fridays and Saturday mornings to the same effect of being a hands on training ground for drivers and all support positions, all the while confirming (or not) results they are getting in the tunnel.

    2. @geemac I like this idea. It doesn’t need to take any money from the winnings pot, it can have both experienced people and beginners (with the accent on the beginners) and help promote talent in all sorts of professions. It could even be used to test theories about possible future aero concepts…

      Neutrality would be the main concern, since the FIA and Liberty have a close relationship. However, that could be worked around by strict enforcement of non-favouritism.

  24. Couldn’t have said it better myself @RacingLines! Two or three solid and independent (as opposed to B or C entities existing mainly to support the parent team in strategy voting whenever needed) teams are the obvious answer…but nothing could happen without a financial structure making it feasible for all participants to actually be part of the whole damned thing!

  25. There is an additional possibility here that isn’t really being addressed, almost as if it’s impossible… OK, I know current regs. wouldn’t permit it but we’re not discussing current regs. – we’re discussing the possibilities for new regs…
    So… allow current teams to sell/lease cars (ready to race) to ‘old-style privateers’… who would not really be called ‘teams’ (perhaps ‘independents’) as they might choose to only run a single car.
    They should be allowed to employ any driver who has the required licence, and also be allowed to change the driver during the season.
    This could put more cars on the grid (within 107% of course) and would give newcomers ‘a chance’ to show themselves
    Additional costs to existing teams would not be a problem because they would be recompensed for the sale/lease – maybe even make a little profit…
    Points should be awarded to drivers AND the original manufacturer (down to 10th place only, please), which would encourage the manufacturers to sell/lease.
    I would also suggest that any such car that is deemed to be deliberately affecting following cars should be given an instant ‘drive-through’. No hesitation – no discussion.

    Go back as far as you wish… In the late 50s Stirling Moss, who was unable (doesn’t matter why) to get a works drive, bought a Maserati 250F and competed alongside the works teams. Later, with Rob Walker, he also raced private Coopers and Lotus’, and a BRM. As a result Moss wasn’t forced into the situation Ocon now finds himself. There are many such examples, before and afterwards. Surely something like this doesn’t need to be dismissed as impossible.

    1. @BlackJackFan I’ve been pondering the same thing today because of this article, and I suppose we have had a few references to Haas/Ferrari that goes along a similar vein. They have stretched the current regs to the max by having all Ferrari components they can legally have and no more and no less, namely the whole back end. But what you are suggesting is for teams to have a whole Ferrari or Mercedes etc, and that can stir up a whole kettle of fish, hence the regs that limited Haas to what they could do with their Ferrari relationship.

      Then I thought ok lease three new teams last year’s cars, but then that guarantees their uncompetitiveness. Or maybe last year’s Mercedes would still beat many of this year’s cars even in the hands of a new team, and would that be fair? I don’t know…lol that’s why I was sitting on this concept before commenting on it…too convoluted.

      1. Hi Robbie – many thanks for your comments.
        I’m not sure why you say: “that can stir up a whole kettle of fish”. Are you comparing my kind of privateer with the likes of Haas? – in which case I would alter the regs. to allow teams to buy the whole cars, but to only run one car… and therefore not be a real ‘team’, as we now use the term. I prefer the old term of ‘works-team’, anyway.
        The big thing here is to alter the regs. to allow such changes, not to keep us bogged down in regs. that benefit existing teams (and the status quo) rather than F1…
        Buying/leasing older cars (which is often what used to happen) is probably impossible now unless previous cars can be upgraded to the current years’ specs.
        I also wouldn’t get involved with how many such privateers can enter – entry should be totally open, subject to scrutineering (and the 107% rule) with no need to deposit a ‘bond’ with the FIA.
        The likely competitiveness also wouldn’t bother me – this idea is intended to get more cars, and more junior drivers, on the grid. It could also employ team staff who might be made redundant, when the ‘cost-cap’ starts to bite – if it ever does.
        The only problem I can foresee is PU supply – if you buy a Toro Rosso (e.g.) you’d have to get Honda power – I can’t see it being too easy to fit an alternative engine unit.
        Thanks for your contribution.

    2. Sure it sounds tempting as a solution, except I do not really believe there could be true independents today. Maybe Rob Walker was largely independent, but a team like UDT Laystall were lot more subservient to Colin Chapman even back then in the early 1960s. Perhaps there is nothing wrong with that…depends how far could such relationships be taken in today’s very political world.

      1. Hi Ales – thanks for contributing.
        The sort of problems you’re anticipating don’t really bother me. I am 10x more interested in solutions than problems… ;)
        I would like to make a distinction between ‘privateers’ and ‘independent teams’. I think teams like UDT/YC/Centro Sud existed more to benefit the sponsors, although they did employ many drivers (young and older) who would otherwise have experienced Ocon’s plight. Walker, Bonnier, Bianchi (Sn) etc. existed as one-off privateers (at various times) and their experiences are either forgotten or unknown today, but the principle is still viable – in a New Formula One, that isn’t just a new logo… ;)

        1. Hey @BlackJackFan…I am all for good solutions too 8D! Maybe Ocon could find a sponsor that would buy him a spare Ferrari and a bunch of mechanics to go racing in the World Championship…but a lot would need to happen for that to be possible (again). Until then, I tend to agree with @DieterRencken that 2 or 3 new constructors are the best solution…after substantial amendments are made to the sport-wide revenue distribution. All that being said, I wonder which of these two possible solutions is crazier to hope for…

          1. Why not let’s hope for both… The more the merrier – then we can go back to the 3-2-3 grid formation… I always love seeing that in old video clips. :) :)
            But have to do something about the ‘red-mist’ guys first…

          2. Ever the optimist, eh…

    3. @BlackJackFan The reasons selling/leasing of cars isn’t deemed possible are multiple:

      1) British courts have ruled that F1 car IP of a non-title-fighting team given out in the following year has virtually no value, even if it was involuntarily lost (see the Force India v Caterham and Aerolab windtunnel case of 2011, concerning IP stolen in 2009 and used in 2010). It also ruled that in such a situation, the IP could be incorporated into the car. Technically that would endanger the constructor’s right to be deemed a constructor (as it would no longer have unique IP).

      2) Cars advance so much these days that a previous year’s IP pins the team quite far back on the grid. Haas spends more than Force India and Toro Rosso, but is generally closer to the latter than the former despite its drivers arguably being better (when they are thinking clearly). It is possible that part of this is because it is using old Ferrari IP. Yes, it would cost more for it to get the research facilities, but it turns out that the saving in start-up costs has a downside in performance of the car (albeit this was not one necessarily anticipated at the beginning of the relationship between Haas and Ferrari). That is for a car that’s only getting part of its IP from the previous year – for a car that was entirely last year’s creation, the deficit would be even bigger.

      3) Old-style privateers, generally speaking, can’t afford a representative price for the cars. It is unlikely that a privateer team would get change out of £25 million per year for buying and running the cars for one year (remember it costs a third of that just to get an engine supply…) which is perhaps 2-3 times as much money as privateers are typically willing to spend on a year’s racing. This includes neither start-up costs (even buying in the cars, there would be some), nor the obligations that would inevitably be placed on a privateer by the manufacturer making the sale (the cheaper the sticker price, the more obligations there would inevitably be).

      4) Prospective teams have been put off by the experiences of the 2010 lot. Before any new teams come from any source, there would need to be proof the concept would work – and this isn’t a concept that can be tested in a modrn setting prior to rollout, unfortunately.

      1. Hi Alianora – thanks for your long contribution…
        You will note from my replies above that I’m trying to find solutions rather than identify problems – and there are many of the latter.

        1. The IP issue can be changed – it exists to protect the already protected – if it rules against the simple need for a privateer to buy a FI (e.g.) then it has to be changed. F1 needs to be leading a period of change rather than getting caught up with things that only exist because ‘other’ interests desire it. Might I say: we need to be less selfish in life… ;)

        2. I hope I’ve covered this above…
        3. Old-style privateers afforded what was required, without having to deposit criminally crippling ‘bonds’ with the FIA, and frequently received ‘start-money’ for just turning up – and getting on the grid – to defray travelling costs, as I don’t think they often received prize-money.
        I’m suggesting new-style privateers could be able to afford 25M (your figure) to participate. Like Stroll Sn., Mazepin, etc. and other driver sponsors, who could afford to create a small company to run an F1 car (I hear the ‘budgie-guy’ is still available… lol) if only the FIA would allow it. There are also F2 teams who would love a chance to run a single car in F1 – and perhaps even an FE team who might like to dip their toes in ‘real’ motor-racing… ;)

        4. As I’ve covered above, new ‘teams’, as defined by the three 2010 arrivals is most certainly NOT what I’m proposing…

        Basically I’m trying to find new regs. to allow such privateers IN, rather than maintaining current regs. (and their inherent problems) to keep them out…

        Thanks for contributing.

  26. More teams would be nice, sure. However, if there were 26 cars, there’d still be a 27th talented driver missing out…it’s the nature of the F1 bottleneck.

    I’m sympathetic for Ocon but not dreadfully so – the flipside of aligning yourself with a manufacturer to get the advantages through the junior formulae to Formula 1 then can have its payback when you’re in Formula 1 and other routes are closed to you because of your manufacturer status.

    I also find it difficult to have sympathy for teams going “we have this hotshoe young driver and even though we aren’t putting him in our car we’re really annoyed you won’t put him in yours”. Mclaren and Vandoorne was the same. “He’s really really good, honest, take ap unt on him, we’re just not going to put him in our cars any more”. Hmm.

  27. F1 has very odd economics, very little return on investment if at all, and mostly exists off the benevolence of the wealthy, individuals or organisations. And then after all that, very little openings for drivers.
    There is no direct progression to F1. Forget the points system. Several Gp2 Champions haven’t made it into F1.
    As a team, once you get in, the only way out is a guaranteed misery, at least for the last person holding the keys to the office.
    So much is wasted trying everything and not always picking anything, all in the name of research.
    There are many ways of fixing F1, but none is a sure bet to work. Because F1 is a mess. There is no pretence, perhaps it is the way it’s meant to be. A European way of doing things.

  28. Have one car customer teams, but give scope for them to develop their own parts (ie: front wings).

  29. it wouldn’t matter how many red bulls or Ferrari’s were entered, they still wouldn’t win championships.

  30. The proposed relegation system would mean that any team in the bottom quarter of the grid would find it impossible, or nearly impossible, to get drivers – at any price or wage. Very few people spend so much money to get to F1 in order to guarantee they will only be there for one season. Without drivers, teams cannot run, so the effect would be to gradually reduce the number of teams until the grid is even emptier than it is now.

    Third cars aren’t an option, for reasons spelt out well in the article.

    Therefore, the only two options both involve the big teams putting their money where their mouths are – either spend the money to allow new teams (who might dilute their income) into the sport, or spend the money to create teams who don’t participate for the TV income (but are bankrolled by the big teams and their sponsors).

    However, the big teams aren’t likely to go for either option, so there is no way to avoid their grumbling about the consequences of their own actions.

  31. Agris Rūmītis
    26th September 2018, 20:19

    very good job Mr. Rencken. As it is – the one car team is not gonna be much cheaper than 3 car team if the rules stay as they are. So the only way ‘d be either to slash teams income or Liberty ‘d have to take a burden. But as it stands i think even applying and entering fees are all too high – i mean providing 4year live proof, license, being a ‘constructor’ and so on. And that’s only teams, not even dreaming of new pu suppliers

  32. Maybe it could be established a cost cap, let’s say 180 million, and as incentive, for every million below this budget, a team could award constructors points to the following season. This might be a good incentive for them to run leaner and thus rewarding teams like Force India. Ex: a team A spend 150 millions and team B only 120 millions; for the constructors championship. So for next year, team a would start the championship with already 30pts (180-150) but team B would start with 60 points. For sure, this is simplistic, but it’s something that could be balanced to reward the small teams against the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari.

  33. I think the “relegation” @dieterrencken was referring to was relegation for drivers, not for teams.

    That actually has some merit – I’ve been saying for the past couple of weeks that the problem with the super licence is that once a young driver qualifies for it, there’s no mechanism in place to monitor their capability to retain it in F1.

    There would still however need to be some kind of incentive from Liberty for those teams whose drivers were relegated to choose their next driver on talent rather than on the amount of money they bring with them.

  34. You can’t have it all can ya? 3 cars per team means less back marker teams. That’s a sacrifice I’d take everyday. Most of the entertainment is provided by the top 3 teams, and the more cars they enter the better.

    1. Instead we have B teams like Toro Rosso, Haas, Sauber etc, where they spent (wasted) half of top teams’ budget from shareholders/stakeholders every year and develop inferrior cars 1 second slower to pain their drivers.
      3-car-team not only equalizes car performance but saves cost at the same time.

      1. Also top teams don’t need pay-drivers so F1’s drivers’ quality as a whole would increase as well.

  35. Three car teams but only top placed car gets constructor points. All drivers get points based on finishing. Also allow customer cars. This is actually more fair than present from constructor points standpoint. Only one car needs to finish so this plays into race strategy too.

  36. I think an option would be to allow single car entrants for individual races rather than a requirement for a full season commitment, but combine this with a more open stance on engine regulations. So allow manufacturers to produce a modern V6 hybrid engine but also allow a V8/10 (or which ever is closer to current power outputs) on a cheaper basis. Cosworth have flirted with F1 for a number of years and providing a cheaper engine would allow new teams not to have to stump up the exorbitant sums for the latest engines.

  37. It is another nice article from Dieter but I do not agree with the crux of the argument that is being discussed by everyone these last weeks: that there are not enough seats in F1. There are thousands of racers out their in different categories and many of them are highly talented. What is the difference if the grid accomodates 20 seats or 26? Those 26 would also be filled and then there would be none left for everyone else. Same problem.

    The idea of driver-demotion-based-on-performance is not a good one, in my opinion. If all the cars on the grid were the same, okay. But they are not. No, F1 has never been fair. But adding rules likes this one will not help matters.

    Force through a reasonable budget cap AND share a greater percentage of profits among ALL the teams. Invest to strengthen the sport by producing a more level playing field. The more generous Liberty is now, the less the big teams can argue against changes and the more rewards Liberty will reap later. The more they worry about their shareholders and keeping the big teams happy, the more likely this sport’s health is going to remain like it was with CVC.

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