Formula 1


Charlie Whiting admits three-car teams in Formula 1 is unlikely

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Ahead of today’s Formula 1 strategy meeting in Geneva, Mercedes supremo Toto Wollf is hoping that the meeting might allow for a discussion on the prospect of race teams being allowed to run third cars.

However, while he is personally in favour of the idea, FIA director Charlie Whiting has stated that he thinks that the idea is unlikely to get much all-round support. In fact, it is understood that the motion is not even on the agenda for the meeting.

Historically, the idea has been opposed because it would be likely to make the divide between the top teams and those jockeying for the lower positions even greater, as the entire winners podium could potentially be occupied by cars from one team. 

"My personal view is that it would be nice to have a few more cars, but honestly I think it's very unlikely.

"It's fairly simple. The argument against it is if you've got a dominant team with three cars, then everyone's fighting over fourth and not a podium place.

"If you've got three dominant teams with three cars, then you're fighting over 10th," Whiting said, per Motorsport. "I can understand why everyone would baulk at that.

“It would be nice to have a few more teams capable of winning, of course, but this year it's more competitive than it's been since the beginning of this engine era.

"Equally if you have a more evenly competitive field, it's a good economic model as far as one can see. This is why GP3 teams have always had three cars.


"Next year's F3 the plan is 10 teams with three cars each, because it's a good business model, because it enables the third car price to be lower. I would think that would work in F1 as well."

As well as potentially allowing for a leading team monopoly, the proposal would be further complicated by rulings on how many additional staff would be required to facilitate the extra cars.

"The rules are based around two-car teams, so a lot would have to be looked at. They're allowed 60 operational personnel," Whiting continued.

"How many more would they need? There's a big difference between what they'd need and what they'd say they need. We'd have to decide what's the right figure. It wouldn't be 30, it might be 10."


Further logistical issues, such as managing the extra cars at the pit garages; while being challenging, would be manageable, according to Whiting.

"We would be able to manage. People would have to squeeze in a bit, and wouldn't have as much space."

Whiting went on to say that some of the commercial and technical changes, that are being pushed for, could increase the attraction of the sport to potential new entrants, by 2021.

"Getting new teams, as we know, is tantamount to impossible at the moment. But that's something that we're hoping will improve, of course, If everything works out as planned, with the revenue distribution and the cost cap.


"The car will hopefully be regulated where the non-performance parts are standard or prescribed, and the performance differentiating parts are team only, where you can't get them from everybody else.

"A lot of the stuff that Haas currently buys from Ferrari will be prescribed or standard. However the suspension, brake ducts, air ducts, all of those are currently non-listed, so they are allowed to buy those, and there is a huge performance in them. That's what we're hoping, anyway."

Whether three car teams are on the agenda of the upcoming strategy meeting or not, it seems that change is certainly on the agenda for the sport in general.

Toto Wolff
Lewis Hamilton
Formula 1

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