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Wolff suggests third car for youngsters

NEWS STORY
06/09/2018

While Lando Norris' promotion to an F1 race seat most likely means that Stoffel Vandoorne is left with nowhere to go in 2019, a similar fate appear to await Esteban Ocon as Lance Stroll prepares to join his father's team.

With the likes of Pascal Wehrlein and Antonio Giovinazzi currently inhabiting the sport's 'never-land', Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who faces the prospect of another talent with nowhere to go (in 2019) in the form of George Russell, believes now might be the time to allow teams to run third cars specifically for juniors.

"As it stands there are three really talented kids with the lack of opportunity," he said, referring to the three Mercedes proteges, Ocon, Wehrlein and Russell.

"It has come to a point now where we need to decide what we want to do in the future," he continued. "Funding a junior team is not an option because putting 80, 90 or 100 million every year in a junior team just to keep your young drivers in place is not what I would want to do. On the other side if the drivers are stigmatised as Mercedes drivers it seems to be not the best-selling proposition.

"Being a racer at heart I still feel that the best talent needs to be supported and developed and I hope we find solution for these guys. If we can't find a solution I would question the junior programme in the future, and then we go back to a pay driver model.

"Today Red Bull, who invented the programme and have been successful in the past, and being the main ones at the moment pushing forward, Ferrari have a junior programme and we have a junior programme and Renault have a junior programme, but if you can't find a place for them in Formula One it doesn't make a lot of sense and that would be a shame in terms of the driver level in F1.

"I will discuss that with the board and with the management at the end of the year depending what the outcome is for George, Pascal and Esteban," he added.

"The big teams are not going to take risks with young drivers, and now you can say well that's boring, and I think it's boring too. I think we should take risks, we should take 18-year-old or 19-year-old great talents in a top team and give them a chance, but the problem is you could lose a driver championship or constructor championship because they have a learning curve that's obviously not great. We haven't done it and Ferrari hasn't done it in the past. So we need to question that.

"I would have a simple solution," he continued. "Give us a third car and make it mandatory to put a young driver in there. With 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. But owning another team just to have a place for your young drivers doesn't make sense for us."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by ffracer, 22/09/2018 2:03

"I am all for 3-car teams in Friday practice and possibly Sat morning, to see how the reserves stack up to the stars. As so many others have pointed out, these drivers need real testing, on all F1 series tracks, and not just restricted to simulators. Simulator pilots...I am shocked with how many drivers have no real seat time. "

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2. Posted by mickl, 07/09/2018 14:35

"Bring back spare or 'T' cars and allow that car to go out in qualifying. Let's face it, everyone brings enough spares to build at least one complete car to every race weekend. Top 2 qualifying drivers of the team in Q1 gets through to the race.

If all teams field a 3rd quali car, that means 30 cars in Q1. Last 10 gets knocked out and if all 3 drivers of a team gets in the last 20, the slowest one drops out, letting in someone from the bottom 10 to go to Q2. Double jeopardy and pressure. If they can perform like that, then they deserve to race.

That doesn't affect team championship points then and no arguments about a 'non championship' scoring driver taking out a competitor and affecting the championship."

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3. Posted by mickl, 07/09/2018 14:20

"Wow...it looks like Toto has been entered by de Montezemolo....deja vu anyone?"

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4. Posted by TokyoAussie, 07/09/2018 4:46

"There are other ways of getting "kids" into F1, assuming they should be there at all. Like organising the series so that other teams can join, increasing the number of entrants. Rich teams running 3 cars is so lame."

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5. Posted by Oldbuzzard, 06/09/2018 22:59

"Driver points only. Constructor earns no WCC points as not all teams will participate. The program must be for driver development only."

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6. Posted by JClark-Monza1967, 06/09/2018 19:25

""The costs wouldn't be huge"

Says the team boss with a staff of almost 2,000 and an unlimited budget.

A better solution is to reinstate extensive testing for young drivers (ex. those that haven't yet raced in F1 who have their super license AND drivers in their first year in F1).

FOM should subsidize it if needed. Simulators and a handful of FP1 stints doesn't come close to providing the experience that rookies need.

Think about it: all of the current F1 drivers who have won the drivers title came up in an era of unlimited testing, which was invaluable when they entered F1. "

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7. Posted by Burton, 06/09/2018 17:59

""George, hold Kimi""

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8. Posted by ESTMPRFT, 06/09/2018 17:35

"How about customer teams like "the good old days"?"

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9. Posted by Lapps, 06/09/2018 16:48

"The problem with Toto’s plan is that the midfield Teams get pushed straight out of the points!
Rather force the Teams to have a first or second year rookie in the SECOND car. After two years they either move up or move on. This would be the ultimate ‘filter’ guiding the best into the ‘number 1’ Seats. It gives a driver two years to prove he is quicker than the incumbent ‘hot-shot’. A bit rough if that is Lewis, but Daniel only needed a year to do it to Vettel! (I never understood why Ferrari pinched the SLOWER Red Bull Driver)"

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10. Posted by imejl99, 06/09/2018 15:31

"If I remember correctly, there was a limit of cars on track for each series, for F1 it was 24.
Toto has a cunning plan... :) "

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11. Posted by Atmozer, 06/09/2018 15:18

"I have a solution for Toto. These kids are not one of a kinds... let them be in F2 for a while let them really wait it out for a seat. These days they all need to come as early as Max??? Suddenly that's the new standard? Give them long term contracts. So they can grow into the new role. And wait it out. The filter will be much better as well with only super talents making the F1.
On the other hand him telling RBR they don't want to sell them there engine because they are scared they will have the better car? Sell them an engine and work out a deal within TR. There are spots but understand Helmut that he now also will say, no Mercedes driver in our cars...

Ok what will you think Vettel will cry if he being hit by a youngster without much experience costing him the Championship.

Last but not least. Ocon is now in his second year so even when they would have a third seat... He would not be able to drive at Mercedes next year. You only push the problem 2 years ahead.

For me they should add more points for a super license make it more difficult to get your super license so it keeps them longer busy before even having a change making F1"

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