Mercedes boss Toto Wolff wants three-car F1 teams for young drivers

Allowing Formula 1 teams to run a third car for young drivers would be the best way to get new talent onto the grid, says Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff wants three-car F1 teams for young drivers

Amid frustrations about the lack of opportunities he has available for his junior drivers Esteban Ocon, George Russell and Pascal Wehrlein, Wolff suggested the current two-car limit should be dropped and a third car - reserved for a young driver - permitted.

"I have a simple solution," said Wolff, whose annoyance at the situation has led him to question the future of Mercedes' junior programme.

"Give us a third car. Make it mandatory to put a young driver, with maximum two years [of F1 experience], 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 surprising us."

Although Red Bull opted to run a second team to school its young drivers in F1, with Toro Rosso having brought through Sebastian Vettel (pictured below), Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, Wolff ruled out Mercedes making a similar step.

"Owning another team just to find a place for your young drivers doesn't make sense for us," said Wolff. "And I think the big teams are not going to take risks with young drivers.

"Now you can say that is boring. I think it is boring. I think we should take risks, we should put 18 or 19-year-old top talents in a top car and give them a chance.

"But the problem is that if you lose a drivers' championship or a constructors' championship because they are on a learning curve, that is obviously not great.

"We have not done it and Ferrari have not done it in the past. So we need to question it."

Ocon backed the idea of teams running a third car, but is sceptical that it could be achieved.

"If that could be the case that would be fantastic for sure," he said.

"But I don't see that happening, to be honest. I would like it to happen.

"It would create opportunities for young drivers like me or like Charles [Leclerc] or like George. A great opportunity.

"The costs [third cars] would bring for teams in difficulty, I think it could be tough.

"I don't want to dream too much about that and I try to think about the actual rules."

Ocon's F1 future is uncertain following current team Force India's takeover, with the driver moves related to that situation also the main factor in Formula 2 leader Russell's chances of getting on the grand prix grid next year.

Fellow Mercedes protege Wehrlein lost his Sauber F1 seat last season and returned to the DTM, which Mercedes is about to pull out of.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Susie Wolff
Teams Mercedes
Author Jonathan Noble
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