Formula 1

Toto Wolff Wants F1 Strategy Group to Discuss Third Driver Idea

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Toto Wolff - Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport - Spa-Francorchamps
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Toto Wolff wants the F1 Strategy Group to discuss the possibility of introducing third cars to Formula 1 next week as the problem of bringing young drivers into the sport rears its ugly head once more.

Wolff has already seen Pascal Wehrlein announce his departure from the Mercedes-Benz Junior Team at the end of the 2018 season after it became clear that the German was not going to get a competitive drive next season, while the likes of Esteban Ocon and George Russell are seeking seats for 2019 but are being snubbed due to their links with the German marquee.

The Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport would like to see third cars being introduced, although he does not expect the idea to be widely accepted, especially down at the other end of the grid where finances would not be enough to support any additional cars.  However, he does feel it would be beneficial to allow the talented pool of junior talent coming through to get opportunities to join the grid.

“I like the idea [of third cars] because the more cars we have in the field, and the more opportunity we give to young exciting drivers to fight in a competitive car against experienced drivers, it would create great stories,” Wolff is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “And maybe be an easier access for talent.

“But we’ve had quite some push back for the idea, for reasons that I respect. Teams saying that would mean there are three Mercedes and three Ferraris and three Red Bulls, and I respect that, if I would be involved in a smaller team, that would be an argument.

“Then the costs need to be looked at, whether it would be commercially viable to run a third car and have young drivers in that.  Me personally I would just really enjoy it, have a third Mercedes and put Pascal in there or George or Esteban, and just see what they are able to do. But I’m not the one taking the decisions here about the regulations.”

“I think we’re going to discuss it next Wednesday again. I’m not the flavour of the month in F1 at the moment, so the ideas I bring up somehow end up in the bin.  Better I’m not saying anything, then someone else brings it up as the next great idea.”

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