Mercedes chief Toto Wolff’s idea of each team adding a third car to promote young talented drivers has received a mixed response from the Formula 1 fraternity.
During the previous race in Monza earlier this month, Wolff had proposed that a third car should be introduced for young drivers like Esteban Ocon, who doesn’t have a drive for next year despite doing well for Force India since joining them last year.
The other Mercedes-backed drivers whose future is uncertain is Pascal Wehrlein and Formula 2 Championship lead George Russell. However, the likes of Red Bull and Sauber have already expressed apprehensions over the radical idea. Ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix here on Sunday, championship leader Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari, Brendon Hartley of Toro Rosso and Kevin Magnussen of Haas gave their varied opinions on the subject.
“I quite like the idea of more cars. More teams maybe, rather than three drivers in a team – would be a handful,” said reigning world champion Hamilton, endorsing the view of his team principal.
Former world champion Raikkonen said having three cars in each team can make things complicated. “I think it would be nice to have a lot of cars but then, I don’t know. So many things that it will change. It’s pretty difficult to work it out,” said the Finn, who has been dropped by Ferrari for 2019 and will be returning to Sauber on a two-year deal.
Magnussen said: “I think it’s kind of … it sounds quite exciting. I think it would be great to see three Mercedes and three Ferraris, but then from there, I don’t know whether it would be good to have 30 cars on the grid.
“I think the pitlane would be quite tight as well. It could be good, it could be bad. I don’t really know.”
If such a move is implemented, it could mean more bad news for smaller outfits like Force India, Williams, Haas and Sauber while Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull stand to gain. “I think it is not a great idea simply because it would mean more points to the top three teams. Formula 1 anyway is not a level playing field and this will make things worse for smaller teams. I would be surprised if the F1 owners (Liberty Media) go ahead with this,” a source in the F1 paddock told PTI