Driver swapping: Is Max serious?

The concept of grand prix drivers swapping cars so that they drive every car on the grid during the season is not being taken seriously in the Suzuka paddock

Driver swapping: Is Max serious?

Most leading players assume that FIA president Max Mosley included it in a list of proposals up for discussion as an extreme measure to encourage team owners to accept less radical proposals, such as weight penalties.

Some suggest that the idea is commercially unviable. Williams head of marketing Jim Wright, for instance, said: "Let's say that Hewlett-Packard wants to use Juan Pablo Montoya in a product promotion. What does it look like if, two weeks later, he's driving a McLaren with Sun Microsystems on it? Sponsors wouldn't go for it. It lacks credibility."

Mosley, present in Suzuka, admitted that contractual obligations would prevent its immediate application, but added: "There is a very strong case for doing it because if you can criticise F1 from a sporting aspect, probably the biggest criticism is that you might get a mediocre driver in an outstanding car and an outstanding driver in a mediocre car and you never quite know.

"You never quite know which is the best team. A lot of the time there is a question mark. But with this plan, the best driver and the best team would emerge and there really would be no doubt.

"It also has the fascination of seeing what certain drivers could do in certain cars. We would never again hear drivers saying 'if only I could drive the Ferrari or the McLaren, I would be right up there.'

"At every race there would be at least one car-driver combination which would be of great interest to the public. It would be fascinating. The case for it is strong. There are difficulties but if everyone wants to overcome them, they can."

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