Wolff open to idea of adding a third car per team

Date published: September 8 2021 - Henry Valantine

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.

Toto Wolff and Christian Horner are open to adding more cars on the grid, with Wolff saying a third car per team could be a solution.

Wolff and Horner both agree that more cars should be added to the grid, with the Mercedes team principal going further than Horner’s opinion that the grid is “probably missing a team or two”, to help young drivers get into Formula 1.

With only 20 spaces available each season currently, Wolff feels that – finances permitting – adding an extra car per team with a compulsory young driver could be a way of allowing more talent into the top level of motorsport.

“I think we need to make sure talented young drivers have the possibility to come up,” Wolff said, quoted by GPFans.

“What I was always in favour of was not only the mandatory FP1 sessions but adding a race or two, where those young drivers or those rookies need to race, and actually being part of, for example, the Constructors’ Championship.

“Even more radically, if financially it can be accommodated, having a third car with a mandatory rookie driver.

“Suddenly we have a grid of 30 cars, and the smaller teams can finance those seats with funding from the drivers or sponsors. That could be very exciting.”

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While Horner feels there should be more slots on the grid for rookies to gain experience in Formula 1, he added that the budget cap in the sport would prove to be an obstacle to Wolff’s proposal.

That being said, however, he thinks the limited spending is helping every team to be able to choose their own drivers, rather than relying on pay drivers for income. Williams have confirmed they are no longer reliant on drivers with budgets coming into the team, and the Red Bull team principal thinks that will be of benefit to the sport.

“There’s a plethora of young guys in Formula 2 that deserve an opportunity and there are just not the seats to go round at the moment,” said Horner.

“So you are waiting for a Kimi [Raikkonen] to retire to open up a seat for a youngster somewhere down the chain to come in.

“With the budget cap, from what I understand, pretty much every single team is on that limit next year.

“That’s a positive outcome because there are drivers with significant budgets who are not getting seats because teams are able to operate independently at those cap levels so that shows it’s working, it’s doing its job.

“Of course, you have got that age-old problem that as soon as you start dividing up the pie among more members it gets diluted and so there is going to be reticence to do that, hence the topic of the third car.

“But ultimately we need between two and four more cars on the grid to enable young talent to have the opportunity to show its colours in Formula 1.”