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”. Now more than ever given the struggles encountered by the top teams to find a place in Formula 1 for their young and talented drivers. As Ferrari is about to replace experienced Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen with 20-year-old Charles Leclerc and the uncertain situation surrounding the future of Mercedes junior driver Esteban Ocon, 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 Toto 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.” – he explaind, also suggesting 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.” – the Mercedes team principal concluded.