Franz Tost says he cannot see Toto Wolff’s idea for teams to put a third car on the grid coming to fruition.
The Mercedes team principal put the notion out there as a way of giving more young drivers a gateway into Formula 1.
In past decades, there were more teams than grid places available, with pre-qualifying having to take place to whittle down the entrants to the maximum of 26 for the race.
Nowadays, there are only 10 teams, two of which are owned by Red Bull, including AlphaTauri of which Tost is the team principal.
Red Bull have one of the leading driver academies and regularly promote their juniors into F1, the most recent example being Yuki Tsunoda who was recently kept on for a second season at AlphaTauri in 2022.
They have three racers towards the forefront of the Formula 2 Championship and have also had to release their reserve and sim driver, Alex Albon, for him to return to the grid with Williams next year.
Wolff has suggested “if financially it can be accommodated, having a third car with a mandatory rookie driver” to ensure greater opportunities for up-and-coming talent, while Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said “there are just not the seats to go round at the moment”.
But Tost does not envisage a third car per team being the way forward to solve the quandary.
“There have always been too few seats in Formula 1,” said the Austrian during an interview with Sport1. “At the moment, there are 20 cars and the best drivers are in them.
“At Red Bull, we give the youngsters test drives in older cars. Another alternative would be to let them drive another season in F2, or in DTM or Indycar. You can also make your way from these series. Those who are really talented will end up in Formula 1 at some point.
“I don’t see the third car. That starts with who is going to finance it. Besides, the paddock and pits are at their limit in terms of space. I don’t even know where to put the third car.”
AlphaTauri have decided to keep faith with Tsunoda despite a disappointing first season in which he has endured what Tost describes as the “crash period” of his career.
Asked about alternative options from those progressing through the Red Bull programme, Tost said: “Basically, good drivers are coming up from Formula 2.
“For us, it’s Liam Lawson and Juri Vips, who will also contest the young driver test in Abu Dhabi. Lawson with us, Vips with Red Bull Racing.
“Formula 2 has a great line-up this year. Oscar Piastri (Alpine), Theo Pourchaire (Sauber), Robert Shwartzman (Ferrari) and our two juniors are certainly the drivers of the future.”