The Haas F1 team wouldn’t agree to the proposal of running third cars in Formula 1 as it could “distort” the championship and “confuse” fans, according to team boss Guenther Steiner. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff raised the idea of third cars recently. This was after he questioned the need for a junior programme when seats are so scarce, and therefore opportunities to promote young drivers is so difficult.
It comes as Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon is set to miss out on a seat for 2019 and there remains a question mark over current Formula 2 championship leader George Russell and whether there will be room for him next year.
Wolff proposed boosting the grid and the number of available seats by allowing teams to run third cars, believing the cost to do so would be negligible compared to current budgets – although it’s likely only the top three teams would take up the option, meaning in most cases, the midfield teams would be fighting for tenth and the last points-paying spot.
That’s the issue for Steiner who rejects the idea completely.
“I’m not in agreement with a third car because it could confuse the whole picture,” he said.
“It would be very difficult to understand for the fans and new spectators that sometimes a third car could run. It would distort the actual championship, in my opinion. I think we need to sit back and come up with a better idea.
“As it stands, we have no interest to field a third car. If somebody comes up and pays for it, yes we can consider it. Until that happens, there is no thinking about a third car for us.”
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was sure that his idea will not gain support as he’s “not the flavour of the month at the moment”.
Mercedes is seeking drives for its junior team members Esteban Ocon and George Russell for the 2019 F1 season. The team has also recently ended its relationship with another F1 junior, Pascal Wehrlein.
Wolff has pushed for teams to be allowed to run extra cars specifically to give junior drivers like these an opportunity to race in F1.