Get Rid of Third Cars, Says Brawn

Top Formula One teams like McLaren should not be allowed to run a third car in Friday practice, according to Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn

Get Rid of Third Cars, Says Brawn

"I think it's a gross anomaly," the Briton told a news conference at the Malaysian Grand Prix where three test drivers topped the timesheets in the morning session. "It was intended to give some commercial benefit to the less well-off teams to enable them to sell a third car for a Friday.

"To have a team of the calibre of McLaren, or last year BAR, having the benefit of a third car on a Friday is a nonsense. And I don't agree with it.

"Particularly with the regulations that we have now it is a huge benefit. McLaren can run round with an engine that is not going to be used (in the race), they can run a reasonable number of sets of tyres and it doesn't make any sense. I can't see the logic of it. To me it is just a piece of nonsense."

The rule, formulated to help struggling teams raise sponsorship revenues, allows those teams that finish outside the top four in the Championship to run a third car in Friday practice. The driver of that car cannot have competed in more than six races over the previous two years.

Last year, former champions McLaren finished fifth. BAR, who had a third car after finishing fifth in 2003, were the Championship runners-up. This season, with a far more competitive car and high hopes of challenging for the title, McLaren have the added benefit of feedback from Spanish test driver Pedro de la Rosa, who last raced for Jaguar in 2002.

With engines having to last for two successive races this year, rather than just one last year, there is a considerable advantage to be gained in having the extra driver to gather set-up information.

Run Freely

While top drivers limited their mileage on Friday to save their cars' engines for qualifying and the race, de la Rosa was able to run freely. Brawn's comments were echoed by Renault's engineering head Pat Symonds.

"I think Fridays are a bit of an anachronism now," he said. "There has certainly been talk of moving towards a two-day Grand Prix event and I think what we are seeing in the early part of this year is probably evidence that reinforces that argument.

"Certainly the current Friday is not a very exciting event."

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has suggested that Grands Prix could be condensed into Saturday and Sunday with teams then staying on for a day of testing on Monday but Brawn dismissed that out of hand.

"I've had a bellyful of Formula One by Sunday night," he said. "Seriously, the drivers are hopeless on a Monday. In the days when we used to have Monday testing after a race, the race drivers were a waste of time."

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