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No third driver in 2007

NEWS STORY
07/07/2006

One of the proposed changes being put forward for 2007, is the scrapping of the third driver rule, whereby teams that finished outside the top four in the previous year's Constructors' Championship are allowed to run a third car in the Friday practice sessions at Grands Prix.

Since its introduction in 2003, a move originally intended to allow 'minnow' teams additional TV exposure, a valuable tool when pitching to sponsors, the third driver rule benefited a number of teams in their championship bids, most notably Renault, BAR and McLaren.

When the 'third driver' rule was first introduced, McLaren's Ron Dennis unkindly referred to the third cars as 'track cleaners', a reference to the fact that the drivers of the third cars did almost all the running during the opening session, when the track was invariably in a poor condition.

When Fernando Alonso won the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix, Renault boss Flavio Briatore took the opportunity to make fun of Dennis, dedicating the win to the 'housewives of the world'. Renault having clearly benefited from the rule.

The proposal that the third driver rule be done away with - it is included in the fax vote sent out to the World Motor Sport Council today, would indicate that there are plans for a revamp of the entire Grand Prix weekend structure, something which has been mooted for some time.

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